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Friday Finals: Maine blanks Titans in playoff opener

April 22, 2023

Lone Star defenseman Antti Autere, who had just three goals during the regular season, scored the game-winner in the 4th overtime on Friday night.

Friday Box Scores

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East Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Maine 3 @ New Jersey 0 (Maine leads series, 1-0) – Thanks to a 33-save shutout from Maine goalie Thomas Heaney, the Nordiques took a 1-0 series lead over the defending Robertson Cup Champion New Jersey Titans in Game 1 of East Semi-Finals on Friday. Heaney, who appeared in 30 games during the regular season, had just one shutout in the 30 games, so the effort in Game 1 was special. Maine got on the board in the 2nd period on a goal from Henrik Hallberg. The Nordiques would add two more goals in the 3rd period from Evan Orloff and Kellen Murphy to secure the win. New Jersey goalie Zakari Brice made 34 saves in the loss.

South Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Shreveport 1 @ Lone Star 2 (4OT) (Lone Star leads series, 1-0) - It took 126 minutes and 42 seconds but Antti Autere finally buried the game winner past Simon Bucheler and gave the Lone Star Brahmas a 2-1 victory in Game 1. In a game that almost became the longest in league history, the Mudbugs struck first midway through the second period as Eric Vitale found Hayden Nichol on the power play for his first postseason goal. The lead would not even last two minutes as Will Laychur converted on a play set up by Jakob Karpa and Ray Murakami. For a full four periods of play, the teams traded chances but they could not get anything past Bucheler and William Gramme. The Lone Star netminder ended the night with 44 saves and victory. Bucheler stopped 41 shots in the loss for Shreveport. 

East Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Northeast 2 @ Maryland 8 (Maryland leads series, 1-0) – Brad McNeil had two goals and two assists and Samuel Stitz also had a pair of goals as the Black Bears dominated Game 1 over the Generals, 8-2. The 1st period was a close one with Maryland leading 2-1 thanks to goals from Gunnar VanDamme and Stitz, while Joseph Schubert scored for the Gens. It was all Black Bears after that as McNeil and Stitz scored in the 2nd period to make it 4-1 and then Maryland would add four more goals in the 3rd period from McNeil, Dimitry Kebreau, Hunter Ramos, and Brayden Stannard. Paul Minnehan had the other tally for Northeast. Maryland goal William Hakansson made 19 saves in the win.

Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Minot 3 @ Austin 4 (OT)( Austin leads series, 1-0) – Austin forward Jackson Luther scored 4:35 into overtime to give the #1 seed Bruins a 4-3 win in Game 1. Austin opened the scoring in the 1st period with a power play goal from James Goffredo. Minot tied the game early in the 2nd period on a power play goal from Hunter Longhi. Later in the game, Walter Zacher put up back-to-back power play goals to make it 3-1 for Austin in the 3rd period. The Minotauros stormed back late in regulation to tie the game at 3-3 on goals from Braden Fischer and Chase LaPinta in the final two minutes to set up overtime. Trent Wiemken made 31 saves in the win, while Noah Rupprecht made 26 saves in the loss.

Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: St. Cloud 2 @ Aberdeen 1 (St. Cloud leads series, 1-0) – Despite going 0-8 against the Wings during the regular season, the Norsemen turned the tables in Game 1 as goalie Ethan Dahlmeir made 23 saves in a 2-1 win in Game 1. Both of St. Cloud’s goals came in the opening period as Tyler Dysart and Kade Peterson both found the back of the net. Aberdeen would pull within one as Jordan Ronn continued his hot play and scored early in the 3rd period, but that would be all the Wings could get. Wings goalie Cole Moore made 20 saves in the loss.

Midwest Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Kenai River 1 @ Minnesota 3 (Minnesota leads series, 1-0): The Minnesota Wilderness scored a goal in all three periods and picked up a crucial game one victory against the Brown Bears. Kenai River got on the board first when Jack Anderson fed a nice back-door pass to Ryan Finch for a tap in goal. Later in the period, Gunnar Thoreson fired a shot from the goal line after retrieving a rebound to even the scores for Minnesota. Reid Daavettila gave Minnesota the lead for the first time with a nice deflection on the powerplay to provide the Wilderness with a lead through 40 minutes. Minnesota’s regular season leading scorer Kevin Marx Noren sealed the victory late in the final frame with an empty netter. Isak Posch picked up his first career playoff win making 22 saves while Kenai River’s Nils Wallstrom kept out 20 shots in the loss.

Midwest Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Chippewa 1 @ Wisconsin 4 (Wisconsin leads series, 1-0): The Wisconsin Windigo opened up the first period with a 2-0 lead and never looked back as they defeated the Chippewa Steel, 4-1. In the opening frame, Benjamin Anderson (0:20) netted an early goal for a 1-0 Windigo lead. Later in the period, Chris Kernan (6:19) netted the second of the game for Wisconsin to close the first period with a 2-0 lead. In the middle frame, J.J. Grainda (8:30) scored to get the Steel on the board, 2-1. In the third period it was all Wisconsin as Zachary Cline (8:09) scored a short-handed goal to extend the lead, 3-1. Late in the period, Victor Widlund (18:44) scored the final goal of the game for a 4-1 Wisconsin win. Goaltender Maxwell Beckford turned away 26 shots in the win. 

South Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Amarillo 2 @ Oklahoma 5 (Oklahoma leads series, 1-0) - The Oklahoma Warriors used a four goal first period to grab the victory in Game 1 over the Amarillo Wranglers with the final score going in favor of Oklahoma 5-2. Drew Sutton led the way with two goals and an assist while Brendan Williams grabbed a goal and two assists of his own. Joey Delgreco and William Ahlrik also scored in the opening period. Ben Ivey led the Wranglers with a goal and an assist while Pierce Patterson also lit the lamp for Amarillo. Dylan Johnson picked up the win in goal as he made 14 saves. Carter Clayton and Luca Ganz combined to make 22 stops for the Wranglers. 

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