NAHL Showcase returns in grand fashion on Day 1 | North American Hockey League | NAHL
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NAHL Showcase returns in grand fashion on Day 1

September 16, 2021

Amarillo forward Kristaps Skarastins (above) had four goals in a 5-2 win to give the Wranglers their first NAHL win, while North Iowa goalie Carsen Stokes (below) made 23 saves in a 5-1 win to give the North Iowa Bulls their first ever NAHL win o Wednesday at the NAHL Showcase.

After a year hiatus in 2020, it was a successful and triumphant return for the NAHL Showcase on Day 1 on Wednesday, September 15th at the Super Rink in Blaine, MN.

It was also a day of firsts, as several new NAHL teams and coaches posted their first career wins. The day was also highlighted by the big crowns and over 180+ NCAA, NHL, and other scouts in checked in the first day.

Day 2 is on Thursday, September 16th, as the action begins at 11am.

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Day 1 Recaps

North Iowa 5 vs. MN Wilderness 1 – Bulls goalie Carsen Stokes made 23 saves to lead the Bulls to their first ever NAHL win as they opened up the 2021 NAHL Showcase with a convincing 5-1 win over the Wilderness. North Iowa scored two goals in the 1st period from Logan Dombrowsky and Michael Mesic. The lead swelled to 3-0 in the 2nd period as Ryan Loughlin scored. In the 3rd period, the Wilderness made it 3-1 on a goal from Charlie Erickson, but the Bulls had an answer with more goals from Jack Mesic and Greg Japchen to make it a 5-1 final. Wilderness goalie Jacob Zacharewicz made 26 saves in the loss.

Odessa 6 vs. Chippewa 3 – Odessa head coach Scott Deur won his NAHL debut and forward Emerson Goode had two goals and two assists to lead the Jackalopes to a 6-3 over the Steel. Odessa jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Goode and Liam O’Hare. The Steel made it 2-1 late in the 2nd period on a goal from Matthew Brille, but the lead increased back to two as Christopher Duclair scored for Odessa to make it 3-1. The Jackalopes pulled away in the 3rd period with three goals, including another from Goode and others from Evan Orr and Michael Manzo. Barak Braslavski and Jack Brown had the other goals for the Steel. William Proctor made 25 saves in the win and Croix Kochendorfer made 21 saves in the loss.

Fairbanks 4 vs. Maine 1 – Ice Dogs goalie Kayden Hargraves made 27 saves to lead his team to a 4-1 win over the Maine Nordiques. The Ice Dogs went up early 1-0 on a goal from Jake Hale. Maine tied the game quickly after that in the 1st period as a goal from Zion Green made it 1-1. Tyler Stewart would score before the period was done to make it 2-1 for Fairbanks. The Ice Dogs lead increased to 3-1 with a 2nd period goal from Cameron Riccota. Alexander Malinowski would complete the scoring with a power play goal late in the 3rd period. Nordiques goalie Avery Sturtz made 36 saves in the loss.

Aberdeen 4 vs. Johnstown 3 – The Wings got head coach Steve Jennings his first NAHL win as they erased two Johnstown leads in a 4-3 win. Johnstown opened the scoring as Jacob Badal scored :23 seconds into the game. The Wings answered two minutes later with a goal from Cade Neilson. Johnstown regained the lead early in the 2nd period on a goal from Holt Oliphant, but the Wings had an answer with three straight goals from Nate Mann, Chase Davis, and Hugo Allais to take a 4-2 lead. Oliphant would score his second goal of the game late in the 3rd period, but it would not be enough for Johnstown. Jed Baliotti made 21 saves in the win, while Salvatore Evola made 26 saves in the loss.

Maryland 5 vs. Corpus Christi 3 – Vlad Polegoshko had a hat-trick to propel the Maryland Black Bears to a 5-3 win over the IceRays on Day 1 of the NAHL Showcase. After a scoreless 1st period, the Black Bears scored the opening goal with Polegoshko’s first. The IceRays tied the game later in the 2nd period on a goal from Jayden Jensen. The Black Bears then exploded for four goals in the 3rd period, including two more from Polegoshko and others from Matthew Davies and Philip Tornqvist. Other IceRays goals came from Oliver Stumpel and Zachary Dill. Luca Di Pasquo made 24 saves in the win, while Damon Beaver made 26 saves in the loss.

New Mexico 5 vs. Kenai River 0 – Ice Wolves goalie Beni Halasz stopped all 20 shots that came his way for his first shutout of the season as the Ice Wolves dominated with a 5-0 win. New Mexico opened the scoring in the 1st period with the first of two goals in the game from Nikolai Dulak. JD Metz scored in the 2nd period to make it 2-0. In the 3rd period, the Ice Wolves scored three more times, including another from Dulak and others from Wilmer Svensson and Alex Gomez to complete the 5-0 win. Brown Bears goalie Bryant Marks made 28 saves in the loss.

El Paso 4 vs. Anchorage 3 – In a battle of the two expansion teams, the El Paso Rhinos built a lead and hung on for a 4-3 win over the Wolverines. El Paso jumped out to a 4-0 lead with two goals in the 1st period from Aleksi Kayra and Matt Johnson. The lead swelled to 4-0 with 2nd period goals from Jonathan Horn and Connor McGrath. The Wolverines made a late charge thanks to a hat-trick and three consecutive goals from Talon Sigurdson, but it would not be enough. Rhinos goalie Lassi Lehti made 16 saves in the win, while Shane Soderwall made 25 svaes in the loss.

MN Magicians 3 vs. Shreveport 2 – Magicians goalie Brandon Millberg made 26 saves to lead his team to a 3-2 win over the defending Robertson Cup Champion Shreveport Mudbugs. The Mudbugs went ahead early as just over a minute into the game as Billy Feczko scored. The Magicians had an answer as Nicholas Babbie and Cam Boche scored to make it 2-1 after one period. In the 2nd period, the Mudbugs tied the game as Niklas Miller lit the lamp to make it 2-2. The game-winner came early in the 3rd period as Trevor Kukkonen scored his first goal of the season. Mudbugs goalie Devon Bobak made 18 saves in the loss.

Lone Star 2 vs. Minot 0 – Brahmas goalie Graham Burke stopped all 30 shots that came his way as he outdueled Minot goalie Carter Clafton in a 2-0 win. After a scoreless 1st period, the Brahmas scored first on a 2-on-1 rush as Nicholas Niemo potted home a rebound to make it 1-0. That lead would last the remainder of the game as Niemo would then add another goal on an empty-net to complete the scoring. Clafton made 20 saves in the loss.

Austin 6 vs. Wichita Falls 1 – Jens Richards scored twice to lead the Austin Bruins to a convincing 6-1 win over the Warriors on Day 1. Richards opened the scoring just over five minutes into the game as Austin would never trail. Wichita Falls tied the game later in the 1st period with their lone goal from Riley Brueck. It was all Bruins after that as Dylan Gajewski, Carson Riddle and Richards all scored in the 2nd period to make it 4-1. Alex Trombley and Franklin Dovorany would add 3rd period goals to make the final 6-1. Hudson Hodges made 15 saves in the win, while Daniel Duris made 38 saves in the loss.

St. Cloud 8 vs. Danbury 1 – Fueled by five goals in the 2nd period, the St. Cloud Norsemen posted the most goals of any team on Day 1 in a 8-1 win over the Jr. Hat Tricks. Jackson Bisson had two goals and Josh Langford made 13 saves in the win. 2nd period goals came from Kade Peterson, Ryan O’Neill, Blake Perbix and Bisson. The Norsemen added four more goals in the 3rd period, including another from Bisson and others from Brandon Lajoie, Chase Freiermuth, and Evan Murr. Gabe Dombrowski had the lone goal for Danbury. Josh Seeley made 26 saves in the loss.

Amarillo 5 vs. New Jersey 2 – Thanks for four goals from forward Kristaps Skarastins, the Amarillo Wranglers and head coach Harry Mahood won their first NAHL game thanks to a 5-2 win over the Titans. The Titans led 1-0 after one period on a goal from Brandon Avezov. The Wrangler took control in the 2nd period, which included two goals from Skarastins and another from Glebs Prohorenkovs to make it 3-1. The Titans cut it down to 3-2 before the end of the period on a goal from Brendan Dumas. In the 3rd period, Skarastins scored two more goals to give the Wranglers the win. Amarillo goalie Max Gutjahr made 27 saves in the win, while Cam Carroll made 20 saves in the loss.

Springfield 7 vs. Jamestown 0 – The Jr. Blues and goalie Ethan Roberts continued their hot start as they moved to 3-0 on the season with a 7-0 shutout win over Jamestown. Roberts made 14 saves in the win and Leo Bacallao had two goals. The Jr. Blues put the game away early with four goals in the 1st period, including tallies from Jonathan Panisa, James Callahan, Connor Smith, and Bacallao. In the 2nd period, the Jr. Blues would add two more goals from Tristan Shewchuk and Mac Gadowsky, and then Bacallao would add his second goal in the 3rd period. Jack Wienke and Nolan Suggs combined for 31 saves in the loss.

Northeast 3 vs. Bismarck 2 – The Generals moved their season record to 3-0 thanks to 26 saves from goalie Carson Limesand in a 3-2 win over the Bobcats. Bismarck opened the scoring with a 1st period goal from Chase Beacom. The Generals took over the game in the 2nd period with three goals from Jackson McCarthy, Marty Marnauzs, and Ryan Gordon. In the 3rd period, Bismarck made it a one-goal game as Drew Holt scored, but that is as close as they would get. Bobcats goalie Tommy Aitken made 24 saves in the loss.

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