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Holding Serve: Top seeds take care of business in Game 1's

April 21, 2012

Amarillo's Brooks Behling had a goal and an assist to help the Bulls to a wild 8-6 come-from-behind win (photo by Michael Norris, Amarillo Globe-News).

Austin 3 @ Bismarck 6 (Bismarck leads series, 1-0) - The Bismarck Bobcats rattled off four straight goals and got a goal and four assists from Tyler Richter en route to a 6-3 win over the Austin Bruins Friday at the VFW Sports Center to claim a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five-games Central Division Finals.  Leading 2-1 after one, the Bobcats saw their lead vanish 2:18 into the second period when John Simonson skied a C.J. Smith rebound over Bobcat goalie Aaron Nelson to tie the game at two.  Just as he did in Game Four of the Division Semifinals, Bobcats assistant captain Castan Sommer came up with a quick answer for the home side, taking a pass at the side of the net from Richter on the power play and banging it in past Bruins netminder Tyler Bruggeman to push the Cats ahead 3-2 a mere 77 seconds after Simonson’s equalizer.  Richter added another assist with 8:03 left in the second, finding a lane to the far post from behind the Bruins net to hit John Furgele for a point blank one-timer that beat Bruggeman glove-side to extend the lead to 4-2.  Frank DeAugustine became the fourth recipient of a Richter assist as DeAugustine fought off the back pressure from Bruins forward Austin Nelson and rolled a shot through Bruggeman’s legs to get the Bobcats out to a commanding 5-2 lead after two.  Ryan Callahan put a cap on the four-goal outburst just 2:13 into the third period, taking an entry pass on the rush from Nick Miglio and roofing a shot over Bruggeman’s blocker to push the lead out to 6-2 in favor of the Bobcats.  Simonson attempted to reignite the Bruins late, scoring on the rush when his 35-foot shot deflected off a Bobcat defender’s stick and over Nelson’s blocker to slice the Cats’ lead to 6-3 with 7:32 left in the game, but the Bruins would draw no closer. Nelson made 28 saves to improve to 3-0 on the postseason. Richter opened the scoring for the Bobcats just 5:12 into the game, redirecting a point shot on the power play by Furgele through Bruggeman’s legs to put the top seed out to a 1-0 lead.  Just 91 seconds later, the Bobcats made it 2-0 when DeAugustine used a Bruins turnover to feed Richter behind the net, who in turn found Sommer wide open in the low slot for a one-time finish to bring the crowd of 1,361 to its feet.  Austin, though, battled back quickly as John Kirby redirected a power play point shot by Jake Flynn through Nelson’s legs to make it 2-1 favoring the Bobcats through the end of the first. Boxscore

Topeka 6 @ Amarillo 8 (Amarillo leads series, 1-0) – In one of the more amazing comebacks in recent NAHL playoff history, the Amarillo Bulls, who trailed at one point in the game 5-1, stormed back with five goals in just over an eight minute span late in the 2nd period to take a 6-5 lead.  After Topeka was able to tie the game early in the 3rd period at 6-6, Amarillo scored twice in the 3rd period to come away with the wild 8-6 win in Game 1.  Luke Jenkins scored twice for the Bulls and John Rey added three assists.  Ben Bahe recorded a hat-trick in the loss for the RoadRunners. Boxscore

Springfield 1 @ St. Louis 8 (St. Louis leads series, 1-0) – The Bandits appear on the fast track back to the Robertson Cup after an eight-goal outburst and defeat of the Jr. Blues on Friday by a score of 8-1.  The Bandits Rance Hughes and the Jr. Blues Josef Pontasch scored as the teams were deadlocked after the 1st period at 1-1.  The Bandits then erupted for four goals in the 2nd period as Joe Birmingham lit the lamp twice, Hughes scored his second of the game and Drew Slaton scored.  Three more goals in the 3rd period from Ryan Stouffer, Joe Kalisz and Stephen Bopp put the game away. Boxscore

Kalamazoo 2 @ Port Huron 4 (Port Huron leads series, 1-0) – 3rd period goals from Jake Goldberg and Nico Sierra were the difference as the Fighting Falcons took Game 1 of the North Division Finals with a 4-2 win over Kalamazoo.  Nick Kovalchik got the scoring going in the 1st period for the K-Wings, but Joe Pizza answered with a goal to tie the game at 1-1.  Kyle Gattelaro would give the K-Wings their second lead of the night at 2-1, but Kody Polin would answer back again for Port Huron, setting up the big 3rd period.  Max Milosek made 27 saves in the win, while Alex Okicki made 28 saves in the loss. Boxscore

Wenatchee 2 @ Fairbanks 5 (Fairbanks leads series, 1-0) – A three-goal 3rd period was the difference in the game as the Ice Dogs scored the final five goals of the game to take Game 1 in front of another sold out crowd in Fairbanks, 5-2.  Ben Carey and Jerad Tafoya scored early to give Wenatchee a 2-0 lead.  Then, Max Birkinbine took over for the Ice Dogs, scoring the next two goals to knot the game at 2-2 after two periods.  Goals in the 3rd period from Alec Hajdukovich, Jeff Earnest and Tayler Munson put the game away.  Alex Fons made 18 saves in the win, while Robert Nichols took the loss with 24 saves. Boxscore

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