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Fairbanks, St. Louis advance to Division Finals with wins

April 14, 2012

Joe Kalisz scored twice to help the St. Louis Bandits to a series sweep of the Coulee Region Chill on Friday.

Fairbanks 3 @ Kenai River 2 (Fairbanks wins series, 3-0) - The Kenai River Brown Bears lost Game 3 in the North American Hockey League playoffs against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs 3-2 Friday night in front of 1,098 fans at the Soldotna Sports Center.  Fairbanks swept the series and will continue on to the West Division Finals where they will face the winner of the Wenatchee Wild and Alaska Avalanche series. Coming into the night, the Ice Dogs led the best-of-five game series 2-0, and if Kenai River could win, the Bears would push their chances of making a comeback at least one more day. However, Fairbanks started hot, as they outshot Kenai River 17-4 in the first period, which resulted in a 2-0 score. Gabe Levin and Rudy Sulmonte put the puck in the net for those first two scores.  With 3:47 left in the second period, Kenai River managed to score its first goal of the series, with a shot from Matt Thompson, assisted by Jesse Ramsey and Brett Lubanski. The score brought the Brown Bears to within a shot of tying the game.  Fairbanks did not give in, and the Ice Dogs made the score 3-1 on a goal by Pavlo Padakin at 7:32 in the third period.  With the score 3-1 in the closing minutes of the game, Kenai River had nothing to lose, and so goalie Austin Severson was pulled in favor of an extra attacker.  With that situation, Sean Muller managed to sneak the puck past Ice Dogs goalie Steve Perry with just seven seconds left in the game, although it was all for naught.  The Brown Bears forced Ice Dogs goalie Perry to work, as he took on 31 shots, including 18 in the third period. Perry recorded 29 saves for Fairbanks, and Kenai River's Severson stopped 24 shots out of the 27 that he faced. Boxscore

St. Louis 3 @ Coulee Region 1 (St. Louis wins series, 3-0) – The Bandits finally allowed a goal, but that would be all the entire series as they scored the final three goals of the game en route to their 3-1 win in Coulee Region as they advanced to the Midwest Division Finals.  Joe Kalisz scored twice and Rance Hughes had the other goal for the Bandits.  Ross Luedtke scored the lone Chill goal in their season finale.  Tyler Green picked up with win with 30 saves. Boxscore

Janesville 1 @ Springfield 3 (Springfield leads series, 2-1) – Gabe Antoni made 33 saves and shut the door almost the entire game as the Jr. Blues took the lead in the best of five series.  Chris Sitler scored a power play goal in the 1st period and Kyle Cook (shorthanded) and Cody Dixon (power play) added 3rd period special teams goals before Garrett Cecere ended Antoni’s shutout bid with just 1:17 to go in the game.  Boxscore

Wenatchee 7 @ Alaska 1 (Series tied, 2-2) – Alaska scored first on a goal from Wehebe Darge, but it was all Wenatchee from that point on, as the Wild scored twice in the 2nd period and five more times in the 3rd period to tie the series, sending it to a fifth and final game on Saturday.  Matt Cope had a goal and three assists, Blake Roubos had two goals and an assist and Chris Knudson added three assists in the win for Wenatchee.  Greg Lewis made 22 saves in the win. Boxscore

Port Huron 3 @ Michigan 1 (Port Huron leads series, 2-1) – 3rd period goals from Max Reavis and Joe Pizza helped the Fighting Falcons to a 3-1 win in Flint on Friday night and a 2-1 series lead.  Kody Polin scored first for Port Huron, but that was answered back four minutes later in the 1st period by Daniel Sakalian.  Peter Megariotis made 26 saves in the win, while Trevor Gorsuch suffered the loss, making 32 saves. Boxscore

Kalamazoo 2 @ Traverse City 6 (Kalamazoo leads series, 2-1) – The North Stars staved off eliminated for one more night as they got a hat-trick from Sean Murphy in a 6-2 win over Kalamazoo.  The North Stars scored the game’s first three goals, two coming from Murphy on the power play and the other from Jared Van Wormer.  Robbie Payne and Brandon Flood scored for the K-Wings to make it a one goal game, but goals from Murphy, Will Badner and Chris Leibinger sealed the win. Boxscore

Bismarck 3 @ Aberdeen 0 (Bismarck leads series, 2-1) – Bismarck dominated play with a 44-18 shots advantage as Aaron Nelson stopped all 18 shots in a 3-0 win as the Bobcats took a 2-1 series lead.  After a scoreless 1st period, Nick Miglio and Tyler Richter scored 2nd period goals for Bismarck and Adam Knochenmus added a 3rd period goal for insurance in the win. Boxscore

Alexandria 0 @ Austin 4 (Austin leads series, 2-1) – Tyler Bruggeman stopped all 27 shots as the Bruins shutout the Blizzard to take a 2-1 series lead.  Three of Austin’s four goals were scored on the power play, including Charlie Adam’s 1st period goal.  John Simonson and Matt Hansen scored power play goals in the 2nd period increasing the lead to 3-0.  Austin Nelson added an empty-net goal in the 3rd period.  Michael Bitzer made 37 saves in the loss. Boxscore

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