Friday Finals: Minot stays hot and punches playoff ticket
Minot 7 @ Austin 3: A dominant opening frame led the Minotauros past Austin 7-3 which would punch Minot’s ticket to the Robertson Cup playoffs. Minot’s Joe Westlund scored twice while John Emmons and Chase LaPinta also scored to hold a 4-0 lead in Minot’s favor through 20 minutes of play. Dylan Cook got the Bruins on the board early in the 2nd period with a powerplay goal before Hunter Longhi scored Minot’s 5th goal, also coming with an extra attacker. Matys Brassard doubled Austin’s output with his 4th goal of the season before the 2nd intermission. In the 3rd, Longhi buried twice to secure a hat trick while Cook found his 2nd of the game for the Bruins. Noah Rupprecht made 28 saves in the victory While Adam Prokop and Adam Stevenson combined for 16 stops, Prokop credited the loss with 5 saves on 9 shots.
St. Cloud 1 @ Aberdeen 9 – Thanks to a four-goal night from Owen Bubois, the Aberdeen Wings put themselves in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot in the Central Division thanks to a 9-1 win on Friday. The Wings opened up a 3-0 lead through two periods, which included two goals from Dubois and one from Kyle Contessa, who ended up with five points on the night. Early in the 3rd period, the Norsemen got their lone goal from Hunter Hanson to make it a 3-1 game. The Wings then went on a six-goal purge to put an exclamation mark on the win, which included two more goals from Dubois and others from Landon Parker, Zachary Reim, Patrick O’Connell, and Dylan Wegner. Cole Moore made 20 saves in the win, while Will Ingemann made 33 saves in the loss. Despite the loss, the Norsemen clinched a playoff spot in the Central thanks to a loss from North Iowa.
Wisconsin 7 @ Springfield 4: A five-goal 2nd period fueled the Windigo to a 7-4 win over Springfield, continuing to make their stamp on the Midwest division with their 38th win on the season. In the 1st, Isaac Keller put Springfield on the board before Wisconsin responded twice thanks to goals from Everett Pietila and Logan Nickolaus. The Windigo caught fire in the middle frame with help from Luke Levandowski, Chris Kernan (2), Patrick Isiguzo, and Daniil Dolzhenko. Alex Fendler cut the deficit down with his 10th of the season for the Jr. Blues midway through the period. Nikita Nikora and Adyn Merrick both buried goals for Springfield in the 3rd but it was too late for a comeback push. Maxwell Beckford kept out 18 of 22 in the win while Aksel Reid and Carson Dorfman combined for 22 saves in Springfield’s crease.
Danbury 3 @ Maryland 2 (SO): The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks stunned the Maryland Black Bears as they picked up their third win in a row with 3-2 shootout victory. Maryland got on the board in the first period for a 1-0 lead with Kareem El Bashir scoring. In the second, the Black Bears extended their lead 2-0 as Gabriel Westling netted his tenth of the season. In the third the Jr. Hat Tricks evened the game with Chase Sandhu and then Logan Nickerson on the power-play to force overtime, 2-2. After a scoreless extra frame, the game went into a shutout where Quinn Kennedy and Logan Furstenau both scored for the 3-2 win. Thomas Kiesewetter played great in between the pipes as he turned away 49 of 51 shots.
Philadelphia 4 @ Maine 7: The Maine Nordiques topped the Philadelphia Rebels after adding multiple goals in each period for a 7-4 final. The Nordiques took a 3-0 lead in the first period after Aidan Coupe, Kim Hilmersson and Henrik Hallberg all scored. In the second, Maine added to their lead with a goal from Filip Wiberg, 4-0. The Rebels got on the scoresheet midway through the period with Otto Pauls Polakovs scoring, 4-1. Closing in on the end of the middle period, Laurent Trepanier scored for Maine and then Carter Casper for Philadelphia for a 5-2 score to end the second period. The Rebels opened up the scoring in the third period as Kristians Samitis scored to make the game 5-3. Henrik Hallberg netted his second goal of the game to add to the Maine lead, 6-3. Philadelphia found the back of the net at 18:04 in the period while on the power-play with a goal from Luke deVries for a 6-4 score. Later on in the period, Kim Hilmersson netted another goal for a 7-4 Maine win. Kael Depape took the win in net after stopping 22 of the 26 shots he saw.
Amarillo 8 @ Odessa 0 – The Wranglers stayed in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot in the South thanks to a convincing 8-0 shutout of Odessa, which eliminated the Jacks from playoff contention. Connor McDonough made 26 saves in the shutout and Blake Farrell and Zack Kent each scored twice in the win. Amarillo led 1-0 in the 1st period on a goal from Ronan Walsh. Chase Davis, Ben Ivey, and Kent added 2nd period goals to make it 4-0. In the 3rd period, Farrell scored twice, Kent added another, and Preston Brighton also scored to make it 8-0. Gergely Orosz made 18 saves in the loss.
North Iowa 2 @ Bismarck 3 – In a must-win situation, the Bobcats came from behind to defeat the Bulls, 3-2. North Iowa took a 1-0 lead in the 1st period power play goal from Logan Dombrowsky. Bismarck responded with a goal in the 2nd period from Brandon Reller. The Bulls regained the lead on a power play goal from Jacob Toll, but Bismarck again had an answer on a goal from Patrick Johnson to make it 2-2. Late in the 3rd period, the Bobcats secured the 3-2 win on a goal from Attila Lippai. Linards Lipskis made 31 saves in the win, while Mitch Day made 24 saves in the loss. On Saturday, it is a must-win scenario for both teams, in addition to needing Aberdeen to lose in regulation.
New Jersey 5 @ Johnstown 4 - Five different Titans found the back of the net as New Jersey topped Johnstown by a score of 5-4. Michael Young and Owen Luik got the Titans out to a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of action. Johnstown’s Nick Ahern countered with a power play strike to bring his team within one. Dominik Bartecko got New Jersey up by two again with his 16th of the season but two quick goals from Drake Albers and Anthony Galante tied the game heading into the final frame. It was special teams that made the difference in the third as Chris Battaini and Ben Yurchuk both netted power play tallies to give the Titans a 5-3 lead. Ahern’s second of the game would make things interesting but that’s as close as they would get as the Titans held on for the win. Marino Ramirez grabbed the win in goal as he made 29 saves. Alec Rajalin-Scharp stopped 17 shots for Johnstown.
Minnesota 2 @ Chippewa 1 - The Minnesota Wilderness edged the Chippewa Steel by a score of 2-1 on Friday night. The game was scoreless until about midway into the second period as Reid Daavettila scored with the man advantage to put Minnesota ahead first. J.J. Grainda potted his 20th of the year to bring the game even at one heading into the third period. Bo Cosman picked up his second assist of the night in the opening seconds as he set up Kevin Marx Noren for his team leading 32nd goal of the year. Isak Posch would be the winner in the blue paint as he registered 25 saves. Adam Gajan suffered the loss despite stopping 30 shots.
Oklahoma 3 @ New Mexico 6 – The Ice Wolves stayed alive for the final spot in the South Division playoff race as they got goals from six different players as they knocked off division champion Oklahoma, 6-3. New Mexico led 1-0 after one period on a goal from Yusaku Ando. The Warriors took a 2-1 lead in the 2nd period on goals from Malte Hasselgren and Joey Delgreco. The Ice Wolves tied the game later in the period on a power play goal from Hunter Hastings. In the 3rd period, the Ice Wolves exploded for four goals from Jack Dalton, Sully Scholle, Ryan Seelinger, and Dillon Kuntz to secure the win. Hasselgren would score again in the 3rd period for Oklahoma to complete the scoring. Carsen Stokes made 28 saves in the win, while Daniel Duris made 31 saves in the loss.
Corpus Christi 2 @ Lone Star 4 – The Brahmas took a big step towards securing 2nd place and home ice in the South Division thanks to two goals from Ryan Comishock in a 4-2 win. The loss was the IceRays’ 8th in a row. Lone Star jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period with goals from Jacob MacDonald, Mason Mara, and Comishock. Late in the 1st period a goal from Corpus’ Leonhard Konrus made it 3-1. Another goal from Comishock in the 2nd period made it 4-1. Gage Parilllo would add a goal for the IceRays in the 3rd period to make it a 4-2 final. William Gramme made 17 saves in the win, while Lukas Malant made 27 saves in the loss.
Shreveport 2 @ El Paso 4 – The Rhinos played spoiler for the Mudbugs chances to finish 2nd and secure home ice thanks to a 4-2 win on Friday. El Paso was led by E.J. Janda who had a hat-trick and an assist as he factored in on all four goals. The Rhinos jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period with two goals from Janda and one from Ryan Gingher. The Mudbugs cut the lead down to 3-2 in the 3rd period with goals from Jake Mack and Drake Morse, but a late goal from Janda secured the win and the hat-trick. Rhinos goalie C.J. Kier made 32 saves in the win.
Anchorage 4 @ Kenai River 5 (SO) – In front of over 2,700 fans, the Kenai River Brown Bears locked in the #3 seed in the Midwest Division thanks to a 5-4 shootout win over the visiting Wolverines. Kenai River led 2-1 after two periods with goals from Owen Hanson and Jacob Zwirecki, while Revelin Mack scored for Anchorage. In the 3rd period, Ryan Finch and Kotaro Tsusumi scored for Kenai River, which was answered by three goals from the Wolverines including Kyle Bauer, Luke Anderson, and Trent Powell. In the shootout, Ben Monson scored the lone goal of the 10 combined shooters. Brown Bears goalie Nils Wallstrom made 30 saves in the win, while Eino Rissanen made 47 saves in the loss.