Friday Finals: Night of firsts as NA3HL opens season
Wausau 1 @ Oregon 8 - The Oregon Tradesmen put on a dominant showing in their inaugural NA3HL contest, thrashing the RiverWolves 8-1 at home. Ethan McCormack struck twice for Oregon, with Dylan Dent, Jefferson Coffin, Branwen Pollett, Gunnar Schiffmann, Brent Edmondson and Jacob Best lighting the lamp as well in a balanced effort. Jason Cooke took the win between the pipes for the Tradesmen, conceding only to Isaac Wickersheim of Wausau. Joseph La Forge suffered the loss in the RiverWolves’ cage.
Yellowstone 3 @ Missoula 6 - Six goals in the final forty minutes saw the Bruins take a comfortable 6-3 win over the Quake in the season opener, which gave new Jr. Bruins head coach Emerson Etem a win in his NA3HL debut. Liam Bland led the Missoula charge with two goals, followed by Owen Miley, Cayce Balk, Ian McIntosh and Mason Mowat with goals of their own. Brandon Kiddis, Jack Harris and Keegan Ferguson put the Quake on the board. Between the pipes, Maxim Currie’s 18 saves for the Bruins earned the win, while Hudgel Selk dropped a tough one despite a stout 23-save effort.
Willmar 4 @ New Ulm 1 - The Warhawks got their season off on the right foot as they walked into New Ulm and left with a 4-1 win on Friday night. Ethan Light led Willmar with two goals, joined by Tyler Corbid and Jack Willis each with a tally of their own. The Steel got a goal from Nick Wieben and 25 saves from Zac Hattan, but Luke Weberg stole the show at the other end, stopping 22 of 23 pucks for the Warhawks.
Alexandria 1 @ North Iowa 9 - Led by a pair of goals apiece from Hayden Fox and Dalton Saltness, the Bulls hit the ground running in the new season with a rampant 9-1 win over the visiting Blizzard. Sota Isogai, Isaac Lindstrom, Brayden Uttech, Caleb Huffman and Tucker Lien rounded on the North Iowa attack, while Alex Heidenreich nabbed the lone Alexandria goal. Evan Babekuhl took the win with 17 saves in the Bulls’ net, while Joey Greilich and Bailey Rosch split duties for the Blizzard, combining for 45 saves.
Rochester 3 @ St. Louis 1 - With a pair of goals in the first period, the Grizzlies built up an unassailable lead and eventually snatched a 3-1 win to make it two wins in two games over the Jr. Blues to start the season. Hunter Wilmes, Matthew DeRosa and Garrett Smith provided the Rochester offense in front of 21 saves by Zach Wiese. Jeb Lindy put on quite a show in the St. Louis net with 34 saves, but Tim Delaney’s lone tally for the Jr. Blues was not enough to overcome the deficit.
Gillette 3 @ Helena 1 - The Frontier Division hit the ice as well on Friday, as Gillette opened things up with a 3-1 comeback victory over the Bighorns. Harlan Wojtusik had Helena ahead early, but Mitchell Veckich, Tristan Baker and Declan Young helped the Wild roar back for the win. Luc Haggitt backstopped Gillette, outdueling Kevin Taunton in the Helena crease.
Sheridan 7 @ Bozeman 0 - Picking up right where they left off at the end of a stellar inaugural season last year, the Hawks trounced the Icedogs 7-0 to kick off the new campaign. With three goals from Logan Syrup, five assists from Jacob Cummings and two goals apiece from Blake Billings and Peyton Kesselhon, the Sheridan offense was flying. James Downie earned the 19-save shutout in net, outmatching the duo of Brandon Keener and Evan Wittchow of Bozeman, who combined for a whopping 57 saves.
Butte 2 @ Great Falls 6 - Twice in this contest, the Cobras held a one-goal lead. But the Americans proved too strong, as they came back with force in a 6-2 win at home Friday night. Alex Jackson led the comeback with a hat-trick, as Jake Hayes, Harley Nyhuis and Bryson Fletcher chipped in a goal apiece. Blake Nichols and Nick Bradshaw were the only ones to strike for Butte against Great Falls’ Trever Mellen, who stopped 23 shots. Mason Giordano and Danny Fielding split duties for the Cobras, stopping a total of 67 pucks.