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Road Warriors: Road teams post wins in Division Finals on Saturday

April 28, 2013

Joe Ballmer made 34 saves in a 1-0 shutout of the Soo Eagles to give the Jametown Ironmen a 2-0 lead in their best of five series.

Central Division Finals, Game #2

Bismarck Bobcats 5 @ Austin Bruins 2 (Series tied 1-1)

Bobcats players Dan Kovar and Aaron Nelson took center stage in Game 2 of the second round as the Bismarck Bobcats toppled the Austin Bruins 5-2.  Kovar registered a pair of goals while Nelson racked up 26 saves en route to his ninth career playoff win as the Cats evened the best-of-five-game Central Division Finals 1-1.  After being shut down in Friday’s 4-2 loss by Bruins goalie Nick Lehr, the Cats were able to get to Lehr first on Saturday when Bob Kinne collected a wayward Joe Giordano centering feed and blasted it home for a 1-0 Bobcat lead with 3:01 left in the first period. The Bruins were able to equalize at one with 7:57 to go in the second when blueliner Cody Dixon pinballed a rising shot through traffic and in.  The Bobcats struck back 1:57 after Dixon’s goal on Kovar’s first career postseason marker as the third-year defender threaded a low shot through a screen to push the visitors back in front by a count of 2-1.  Matt Pohlkamp doubled the lead to two at 3-1 with 1:47 left in the second stanza, as he cashed in with a rocket shot over Lehr’s glove for his second goal of the playoffs.  Austin drew back within one just 97 seconds into the third as Ladislav Zikmund popped in a Brandon Wahlin rebound for a 3-2 score.  The Bobcats went back up by two as Kovar’s length-of-the-ice slap shot dipped hard as it approached Jason Pawloski and snuck under his glove for a 170-foot short-handed goal and a critical 4-2 spread with 2:19 to go in the game.  Bobcat captain Adam Knochenmus put a cap on the scoring, netting his first of the playoffs with 55 seconds left on a slow-roller into the vacated cage for the final margin of 5-2. Boxscore

West Division Finals, Game #2

Fairbanks Ice Dogs 4 @ Wenatchee Wild 3 (Series tied 1-1)

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs built a 4-1 lead early in the 3rd period and survived a late comeback by Wenatchee to win Game 2, 4-3 and even the series at one game apiece. Fairbanks opened up a 2-0 first-period lead Saturday on even-strength goals by Max Birkinbine and Taylor Munson.  Birkinbine scored from the doorstep a little less than seven minutes into the contest on a rebound. The play started on a faceoff win in the Wild zone, followed by an uncontested shot by Garret Clemment from the top of the circle. Munson scored with 7:33 left in the first frame after he got a step on a defender and received a centering feed from Lawrence Cornellier. Devin Loe also assisted. Trailing 2-0 entering the second period, the Wild got back into the game 1:39 into the second period when Jono Davis ripped a top shelf shot into the cage from the slot on a pass from Max McHugh. Unfortunately, Cornellier scored an unassisted marker with 1:44 left before the second intermission to get the Ice Dogs' 2-goal lead back. Cornellier scored again 3:26 into the third period to push Fairbanks' lead to 4-1, setting the stage for Wenatchee's attempted late comeback.  Tyler Bruneteau scored with 4:11 left in regulation on an assist from Chris Jones to cut Fairbanks' lead down to two goals. The Wild then got an extra-attacker goal from Jacob Barber with 47 seconds left on a slick pass from Josh Hartley. Wenatchee had a chance in the last couple seconds of regulation to get off a solid scoring chance, but a centering feed to the slot was a bit off target and the Ice Dogs escaped with the win. Robert Nichols suffered the loss. He made 26 saves on 30 shots. Steve Perry made 34 saves on 37 shots to earn the win. Cornellier led the Ice Dogs with two goals and an assist while Clemment notched two assists. Boxscore

North Division Finals, Game #2

Jamestown Ironmen 1 @ Soo Eagles 0 (Jamestown leads best of 5 series, 2-0)

If Game 1 was a scoring duel between the two teams, Game 2 reverted back to the expected goaltending duel.  It was the continued brilliance between the pipes by Ironemn netminder Joe Ballmer and a timely goal by Elliot Tisdale at the 6:27 mark of the second period propelled the second-seeded Ironmen past the Eagles, 1-0, in Game 2 of the North Division finals on Saturday. Jamestown, which had enjoyed limited success against the Eagles during the regular season (the Ironmen won just two of the pair's eight contests), now holds a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series, and with a victory on Thursday can clinch a berth in the upcoming Robertson Cup Championship. Tisdale's tally, which was assisted by teammates Victor Johansson and Brett Szajner, was his first of the playoffs. Jamestown has now won five straight since April 12, and is the lone squad that has yet to suffer a playoff defeat. Ballmer, who owns a 1.20 goals-against average and an impressive .963 save percentage in 300 postseason minutes, stopped 34 shots for the Ironmen to preserve the shutout, and has allowed only six goals in five games thus far.  Tyler Marble played very well in the loss, making 32 saves and allowing just the lone goal. Boxscore

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