Friday Finals: Wild and Generals become first to clinch playoff spots
Badlands 1 @ Gillette 4: The Gillette Wild became the first NA3HL team to clinch a spot in the 2023 Fraser Cup Playoffs as they added three goals in the third period to take a 4-1 win over the Badlands Sabres. In the second Gillette got on the board with Ryan Hipsag for a 1-0 lead. In the third the Sabres evened the game 1-1 with a goal from Brady Ridnour. Gillette took back momentum as they scored three unanswered with Alec Waller, Wylee Gladen and Ryan Hipsag for a 4-1 win. Jake Turek was elite in the pipes stopping 19 shots.
Mid Cities 1 @ New Mexico 7: The Ice Wolves continued their dominance over the Jr. Stars in their 4th straight matchup, winning 7-1. Jo Kawagishi and Brady Nance got New Mexico’s offense rolling early with goals in the opening frame. Kawagishi scored a pair of goals in the 2nd to continue his team’s momentum and secure a natural hat trick. New Mexico forward Fletcher Burnett also buried three goals in the final frame to secure himself a hat trick as well as extend the lead. Mid Cities’ lone score came midway through the 1st period from Andrew Kolka. Pierson Haislet stopped 17 of 18 shots faced in the victory. Cole Eckert kept out 47 shots for the Jr. Stars.
Northeast 7 @ Bay State 0: The Generals brought their win streak to an impressive nine consecutive games after shutting out the Bobcats 7-0. The secured a spot in the 2023 Fraser Cup Playoffs for the Generals. Michael Locke and Phil Feinburg both lit the lamp in the 1st period for the Generals. Caiden Hess and Nolan Zotter provided some insurance with scores in the middle frame. Gabe Vijuk, Kristof Karpati, and Matthew Nuzzolilo all found the back of the net in the 3rd period to extend the lead even further. Ian Kangas was perfect between the pipes for Northeast, completing the night with a perfect 18 for 18 save stat line. AJ Cooper kept out 40 shots in the loss.
Norwich 6 @ Danbury 5 (OT): Sava Makarenko buried the game winner 1:59 into overtime to provided Norwich with the extra two points in their matchup against Danbury. Danbury’s Nick Rogers and Norwich’s Jacob Begich both buried goals in the opening frame to keep the score level. The visitors were up a goal after 40 minutes of play thanks to 2nd period scores from Chris Hamilton, Begich, and Makarenko. Danbury stuck around as Rogers and Brody Drew found the back of the net in the 2nd as well. Sean Loftus added another for Norwich in the 3rd Rogers scored a pair of goals to bring his total to four on the night to send the game to overtime. Andrew Yocum made 24 saves in the victory while Ryan Maguire kept out 29 of 35 for the Jr. Hat Tricks.
Long Beach 4 @ New Jersey 3: The Sharks tallied a pair of goals in each of the final two periods to lead them past New Jersey 4-3 on the road. Nick Trabb got the Titans on the board first with the lone goal in the 1st period. George Hinds doubled the lead 36 seconds into the 2nd period before Dylan Harbour and Nate Mastrony tickled twine to tie it for Long Beach. Mastrony found the back of the net again 2:23 into the 3rd period and Sam Barnitz added another goal 15 seconds later for some cushion. Joey Attanasio brought New Jersey within a goal with less than 5 remaining in regulation but the Sharks and net minder Ryo Murakami were able to hold on. Murakami made 28 saves in the victory while opposing netminder Jake Agoglia kept out 30 of 34 for the Titans.
Oregon 2 @ Wausau 6: The Cyclones dominated in their Friday night matchup against Oregon, scoring at least a goal in all three periods and taking down the Tradesmen 6-2. Josh Christofferson and Brennan Valencia both tickled twine in the opening frame for Wausau. Christian Tavare and Dillon Schmidt scoreg goals in the 2nd period to keep the Tradesmen within reach. Ricky Nelson got Wausau on the board again to give them a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes of play. Adam Wiggins extended the lead with a goal early in the 3rd and scores from Isaac Baker and Chase Chapman put the game out of reach. Collin Lemanski made 32 saves in the win while Connor Carroll kept out 33 for the Tradesmen.
Minnesota 1 @ Mason City 4: Connor Graham was the backstop for the Toros Friday night, stopping all but one of 34 shots that came his way to lead Mason City to a 4-1 victory. Ethan Peterson and Jordan Newpower each lit the lamp in the 1st period to give Mason City an early advantage. Sebastian Schuehle cut the deficit in half with a Loons goal 10:08 into the 2nd until Peterson scored his 2nd to regain that two-score advantage. Carter Newpower buried his 12th of the season late in the final period to seal it. Matthew Ryynanen put up a valiant effort for Minnesota, saving 35 shots on 39 faced in the loss.
Peoria 1 @ Granite City 8: The Granite City Lumberjacks topped the Peoria Mustangs in an 8-1 final. The Lumberjacks took a 2-0 lead in the first period with Kyle Mortenson and Zak Kennett scoring. Peoria got on the board late in the first with a goal from Christopher Kondiles for a 2-1 score. In the second it was all Lumberjacks as they scored 4 unanswered goals with Nolan Widman, Carson Van Zuilen, Jacob McPartland and Zak Kennett for a 6-1 score. In the third the Lumberjacks added two more goals with Lycoln Bielenberg-Howarth and Nolan Widman for a 8-1 final score. Paul Cassin was great in net stopping 21 shots.
Louisiana 3 @ El Paso 0: The Louisiana Drillers shutout the El Paso Rhinos 3-0. The game got its first goal in the second period with Brody Neish and Micha Maldonado for a 2-0 Drillers lead. In the third, Maldonado netted his second of the night for a 3-0 final. John Moriarty earned the shutout, turning away 22 shots.
Helena 4 @ Yellowstone 2: The Helena Bighorns topped the Yellowstone Quake in a 4-2 contest. Andrew Deskin got Helena on the board in the first period 1-0. In the second, Tyler Bloom added to the Bighorns lead, 2-0. Yellowstone got on the board in the third with a Nick Cofer goal for a 2-1 game. The Bighorns answered back with Ty Moore for a 3-1 score. The Quake added their final goal of the game with Blake Mitchell, 3-2. Late in the game and on the penalty kill with an empty net, Camden Cunningham scored for a 4-2 final.
Great Falls 3 @ Butte Cobras 4 (OT): The Butte Cobras took an overtime win against the Great Falls Americans in a 4-3 final score. Both teams ended the first period tied up 2-2 as Calien Chinery scored twice for Butte and Baden Powell and Silas Hughes for Great Falls. In the second, Alex Leaf got the Americans ahead 3-2. Late in the period, Patrick Crooks evened the game 3-3. In overtime Crooks scored the game winner for a 4-3 final.