Friday Finals: Vaarwerk leads Rebels to road win in Game 1 | North American Hockey League | NAHL
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Friday Finals: Vaarwerk leads Rebels to road win in Game 1

May 7, 2022

Kyle Gaffney had the overtime-winning goal in a 5-4 win over St. Cloud on Friday night to give Aberdeen a 1-0 series lead.

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East Division Finals, Game 1: Jamestown 6 @ New Jersey 2 (Jamestown leads series, 1-0) – Rebels forward Jak Vaarwerk had a four-point game, which included a hat-trick and an assist as the Rebels dominated play in a Game 1 win in New Jersey over the Titans. The Rebels wasted little time seizing control in the 1st period as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Ryan Waltman, Noah Szretter, and Josh Burke scored in a seven-minute span. The Titans responded later in the period with a pair of goals from Anthony Mollica and Nick Ring to make the score 3-2 after the 1st period. The rest of the way, it was all Vaarwerk and the Rebels as he scored two goals in the 2nd period and added a goal late in the 3rd period, which was his league-leading 7th goal of the Robertson Cup Playoffs. Both Nathan Jurrens and Conor Sedlak finished with two assists apiece. Rebels goalie Nolan Suggs made 24 saves in the win, while Andrew Takacs made 28 saves in the loss.

Central Division Finals, Game 1: Aberdeen 5 @ St. Cloud 4 (OT) (Aberdeen leads series, 1-0) – Five different players scored for the Wings and goalie Anton Castro made 41 saves to lead Aberdeen to a 5-4 overtime win in Game 1 in St. Cloud. St. Cloud would score first as Blake Mesenburg lit the lamp midway through the 1st period. Aberdeen tied the game at 1-1 less than a minute later as Hugo Allais scored on a penalty shot. Before the period was over, St. Cloud regained the lead on a goal from Broten Sabo to make it 2-1. Early in the 2nd period, the Norsemen went up 3-1 as Ryan O’Neill scored his first goal of the playoffs. The Wings would respond however with three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead as goals from Owen DuBois, Landry Schmuck, and Ronan Walsh in an 11-minute span gave the Wings their first lead. In the 3rd period, St. Cloud tied the game at 4-4 as Sabo netted his second goal of the game. Just over seven minutes into overtime, the Wings got the game-winner as a no look pass from Jackson Yee from behind the net to Kyle Gaffney gave the Wings the win. Norsemen goalie Tomas Bolo made 33 saves in the loss.

South Division Finals, Game 1: New Mexico 0 @ Lone Star 2 (Lone Star leads series, 1-0) – The Lone Star Brahmas held the Ice Wolves to just 15 shots on goal as goalie Arthur Smith denied all 15 of those shots in a 2-0 shutout win in Game 1 of the South Finals. The Brahmas took a 1-0 lead in the 1st period as Dylan Smith backhanded home his first goal of the playoffs. Early in the 3rd period, the Brahmas struck for their second goal of the game as Nicholas Niemo netted his 4th goal of the playoffs to secure the 2-0 win for the Brahmas. New Mexico goalie Beni Halasz made 19 saves in the loss.

Midwest Division Finals, Game 1: MN Wilderness 1 @ Anchorage 4 (Anchorage leads series, 1-0) – The Wolverines got 34 saves from Raythan Robbins and two goals from Drake Albers as they took a 1-0 series lead thanks to a 4-1 win in Game 1 over the Wilderness. The first two periods went almost scoreless as both goalies held their opponents at bay. However, with less than a minute remaining in the 2nd period, the Wolverines scored first as Albers netted a shorthanded goal. The Wilderness were quick to respond as just :34 seconds later, defenseman Cole Crusberg-Roseen answered on the power play to make it a 1-1 contest after two periods. In the 3rd period, the Wolverines put the game away with goals from Matt Johnson, Hunter Bischoff, and another from Albers. Wilderness goalie Matthew Smith made 28 saves in the loss.

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