Friday Finals: Cobras and Warhawks clinch spots in Playoffs
Helena 4 @ Butte 5 (SO): The Butte Cobras took a shootout win against the Helena Bighorns, 5-4, which clinched the final playoff in the Frontier Division/ The game was tied 1-1 after the first period with Patrick Crooks for Butte and Camden Cunningham for Helena. In the second, the Cobras went ahead 3-1 with Luke Schleusner and Patrick Crooks scoring. The Bighorns got on the board later in the period with Lyndon Orr to end the second 3-2. In the third period, Caelin Chinery scored early for a 4-2 Butte lead. The Bighorns battled back to even the game 4-4 as Tyler Aldredge and Derek Rassell scored to force overtime. After a scoreless overtime, the game went to a shootout where Patrick Crooks, Luke Schleusner and Tamer Billman scored for the win. Caleb Cross took the win in net after stopping 61 shots.
Minnesota 3 @ Willmar 7: Nik Johnson and Tyler Misialek each had two goals as the Warhawks clinched the 4th and final playoff spot in the West thanks to a 7-3 win over the Loons. The game was knotted at 1-1 after one period with Gunnar Sibley scoring for Willmar and Armando Rojo Bolton answering for the Loons. Willmar then put the game on ice in the 2nd period with two goals from Johnson, one from Misialek, and one from Chandler Dennis. Misialek would add his second goal in the 3rd period along with a goal from Gaborik Olson. Cooper Bracket and Evan Fritze had the other goals in the Loons loss. Zachary Ortolano made 23 saves in the win.
Granite City 3 @ Alexandria 0: Lumberjacks goalie Ryan Lehet stopped all 28 shots that came his way for his 3rd shutout of the season as Granite City blanked Alexandria, 3-0. Granite City scored twice in the 1st period with goals from Ashton Ericksen and Carson Van Zuilen. Jacob McPartland would add a 2nd period goal for insurance. Blizzard goalie Kyle Abrahamson made 30 saves in the loss.
New Jersey 1 @ Norwich 2 (OT): In a goalie battle, the Sea Captains outlasted the Titans in overtime, 2-1. Both regulation goals were scored in the 2nd period as Tony Morran scored for Norwich with George Hinds answering for New Jersey. With :54 seconds left in OT, Jack Kinahan won the game for Noriwch. New Jersey did get a point and now sit one point ahead of Long Beach for the final playoff in the East with one game remaining. Andrew Yocum made 7 saves in the win, while Daniel Antal made 37 saves in the loss.
Northeast 6 @ Danbury 2: Matthew Nuzzolilo had two goals and an assist as the Generals handled Danbury, 6-2. The Generals jumped ahead 3-0 with two goals from Nuzzolilo and one from Nolan Merulli. The Jr. Hat Tricks tried to come back with goals from Denis Radchenko and Nick Rogers to make 3-2 early in the 3rd period, but the Generals would pull away with three straight goals from Nolan Zotter, Phil Feinberg, and Mason Frary. Ian Kangas made 23 saves in the win, while Gennaro Demaio made 36 saves in the loss.
Mid Cities 1 @ Louisiana 10: The Drillers got a hat-trick and an assist from Micah Maldonado in a 10-1 win over the Stars. Maldonado scored twice in the 1st period and Rory Neish and Cheeno Gryska also added 1st period goals. Joel Liljergren, Neish, and Maldonado scored in the 2nd period and in the 3rd period, Aron Lundgren had two goals and Daniel Crutcher also scored. Andrew Kolka had the lone goal for the Stars in the loss. William Carney made 32 saves in the win.
St. Louis 2 @ Rochester 11 – The Grizzlies took a big step towards winning the Central Division as 11 different players scored in a 11-2 win over St. Louis. Rochester led 2-0 after one period with goals from Luke Morrisette and Spencer Klotz. The game was blown wide open in the 2nd period as the Grizzlies made it an 8-0 contest with goals from Ty Petzke, Ben Oakland, Gavin Meers, Grant Dardis, Benjamin Tschida, and Connor Stoffel. Matthew Haun, Luke Jech, and Maxwell Clark scored in the 3rd period. Connor McCaffrey and Jacob Horrall had goals in the Jr. Blues loss. Tate Cothern made 17 saves in the win.
El Paso 0 @ Texas RoadRunners 2: The Texas RoadRunners shutout the El Paso Rhinos in a 2-0 score after scoring a goal in the first and third period. Noah Easterson got the RoadRunners on the board in the first period on the power-play for a 1-0 score. Early in the third period, Tyler Love netted his 34th goal of the year to seal the win for Texas, 2-0. Hunter Hein posted a 25 shot shutout win.
Milwaukee 9 @ Oregon 4: The Milwaukee Power set a season ending tone as they topped the Oregon Tradesmen in a dominant 9-4 win. In the first period, Luke Nemeth scored for the Power to get a 1-0 lead. Oregon answered back with two goals for a 2-1 lead with Connor Byrne and Carter Watters. Milwaukee took back all the momentum with Bryce Gaber, Liam Fraser and Owen Drake for a 4-2 lead to end the period. In the second, Amir Velikhanov scored for a 4-3 score. In the third the Power went on an offensive tear with Patrick Toomey, Andrew Butler and Jack Wojnowski to get a 7-3 lead. Oregon got their final goal of the night with Dayne Deanovich, 7-4. Milwaukee ended the period with Bryce Garber and Owen Drake both netting their second of the game for a 9-4 final. Goaltender Adam Prokop took the win after backstopping 32 of 36 shots.
Great Falls 5 @ Yellowstone 2: The Great Falls Americans topped the Yellowstone Quake 5-2. The Americans got on the board first to open the game with a goal from Dawson Bunch. Yellowstone answered back with Blake Mitchell and Branden Paine for a 2-0 lead. The action picked up again in the third period with Great Falls scoring four unanswered goals with Ben Cremers scoring a hat-trick and Jace Thompson scoring as well for a 5-2 final. Ryan Stowe stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced in the win.
Bozeman 1 @ Gillette 5: The Gillette Wild defended home ice in a 5-1 victory against the Bozeman Icedogs. Jace Johnson got the only goal in the first period to get the Wild ahead 1-0. In the second, Gillette added to their lead with Tyler Sunagel, 2-0. Later in the middle frame, Bodie Shepardson scored for the Icedogs to get on the board, 2-1. In the third, it was all Wild as Sky Solig, Ryan Hipsag and Cade Voge all scored for a 5-1 final. Goaltender Cole Wheaton got the win between the pipes after only allowing one goal off 36 shots.
Badlands 2 @ Sheridan 6: The Sheridan Hawks defeated the Badlands Sabres 6-2. In the first the Hawks netted a goal with Caleb Murray for a 1-0 score. In the second, the Hawks extended their lead with Murray netting his second of the night, 2-0. Carter Johnson got the Sabres on the scoresheet for a 2-1 score. Later in the period, Wyatt Noble scored for a 3-1 Hawks lead. In the third period, Christian Crutcher scored for the Hawks to get ahead 4-1. Cater Johnson scored again for the Sabres getting the score 4-2. The Hawks took back momentum as they scored back to back with Ryan McKenna and Caleb Murray netting this third for a 6-2 final score. Goalie Jack Wood stopped 14 of the 16 tries on net for the win.