Friday Finals: Rhinos take over South Division lead
Oklahoma City 4 @ El Paso 5 - A barnburner between a pair of South Division heavyweights came down to the wire, when El Paso's Cole Schneider scored his 19th goal of the season late in the contest to give the Rhinos a 5-4 win and move them into the division lead. This wild affair saw the teams trade goal after goal, starting with Brady Snedden of Oklahoma City midway through the first period. From there, Nate Beamish responded for El Paso, Artem Korolev then did the same for OKC, and John Mulvihill once again leveled things out before the end of the frame. In the second period, El Paso took the lead behind Noah Easterson's tally, but Tommy Duren made it 3-3 heading into the third. After Preston Hazleton appeared to give El Paso the final lead of the night, Noah Henslee struck for OKC with just under three minutes to play. But Schneider and the Rhinos would not be denied, scoring with just 43 seconds remaining for the victory. Rustam Kulizade earned the win in goal, stopping 30 pucks for El Paso, while Jacob Ahl turned aside 30 of his own for the Blazers.
Gillette 4 @ Yellowstone 0 - Cole Wheaton stopped 19 of 19 shots against, four different skaters found twine and the Wild cruised past the Quake 4-0 on the road on Friday. Mason Hoffman, Ethan Becker, Caleb Sanborn and Nicolas Delli Bovi each scored for Gillette, who peppered Yellowstone's Connor Carroll with 60 shots on the night, but the Quake netminder was strong in net, despite the scoreline, with 56 saves on the night.
Missoula 4 @ Sheridan 6 - Jacob Cummings continued his remarkable season with another four point effort, notching two goals and two assists to help the Hawks outlast the Bruins 6-4 at home. Nick Wieben was at his best as well with a pair of goals and a helper for Sheridan, joining Blake Billings (1g, 2a) and Tony Brings (1g) in the goal column. Missoula received goals from Pablo Frank, Zachary Zielinski, Shane Dotto and Mason Mowat, as well as a stout 46 saves from Maxim Currie, but the Sheridan duo of Luke Fundator and Christian Wong-Ramos combined for 27 saves in the Hawks' victory.
New England 2 @ Bay State 3 (SO) - A 2-2 deadlock after regulation time settled nothing between these two teams, but after a four-round shootout and some Landon Boothe heroics, the Bobcats came out on top for the 3-2 victory. Boothe also found twine in the second period, joining Jacob Hall on the Bobcats' side of the scoresheet, but their tallies were canceled out by Jake Weikel and Sam Brickley of New England. Gordon Ogden of Bay State and George Fomin of New England traded goals in the round robin portion of the shootout, before Boothe won it in sudden death. Bay State's Zack Roncarati picked up the win with 39 saves on the night, while Greyson Skirpan suffered the tough luck loss despite 44 stops of his own.
Milwaukee 2 @ Rochester 7 - Hunter Wilmes and Joey Fodstad each bagged two-goal efforts as the Grizzlies cruised past the Power 7-2 at home on Friday. Cole Gibson, Teppei Ueno and Peyton Hart also lit the lamp for Rochester, while Simon Ellingson and Brady Rossbach netted for Milwaukee. Zach Wiese stopped 27 of 29 for the Rochester win, while Cole Shane and Ewan McDevitt combined for 43 saves in the Power cage.
Granite City 6 @ New Ulm 1 - Tucker Skime's hat-trick highlighted a banner evening for the Lumberjacks, who knocked off the Steel 6-1 on the road on Friday. Cody Dias, Noah Bissett and Brett Reed joined Skime in the Granite City goal column, with Nicholas Richert (3a) and Brockston Masseth (2a) showing off their playmaking abilities as well. Bailey Huber stopped nine of 10 shots against, conceding only to New Ulm's James Spaargaren, while Zach Foster turned aside 31 of 37 shots for the Steel.
North Iowa 2 @ Willmar 1 - Carson Jones lit the lamp just over five minutes into the third period to give the Bulls their second and final lead of the game, as they hung on to top the Warhawks 2-1 for a big road win. Jack Campion put North Iowa ahead in the first period, but Willmar's Ben Johnson leveled the affair in the second. Jones' game-winner came early in the third, and North Iowa's Max Gutjahr took it from there with 14 saves in the third period. He finished with 29 stops on 30 shots in the win, while Willmar's Lukas Haugen faced down 36 of 38 in the loss.
Wausau 1 @ Oregon 6 - Six different skaters scored, Cole Garver stopped 34 of 35 pucks and the Tradesmen blitzed the RiverWolves for a 6-1 win on Friday. Henry Slager, Carter Stobb, Zane Van Zeeland, Gunnar Schiffmann, Ethan McCormack and Jacob Best provided the Oregon offense, while Pavel Bakhtin posted the lone Wausau marker. Caleb Sauer and Joseph La Forge each saw time between the pipes for the RiverWolves, putting up a combined 49 saves on the night.
Bozeman 1 @ Helena 5 - The Bighorns raced out to a 3-0 lead early in this one, and rode a stellar, 51-save Nate Gulsvig performance in net to victory from there, ousting the Icedogs 5-1 at home. Andrew Deskin, Gage Bowerman, Harlan Wojtusik, Tylor Greene and Andrew MacCallum each lit the lamp for Helena, while Kai Kingery posted Bozeman's goal. Icedogs netminders Evan Wittchow and Brandon Keeney stopped 43 total shots in their shared appearance.
Butte 2 @ Great Falls 5 - Jackson Henningsgard's double paced the offense while Ben Winkler's 30 saves steadied the defense as the Americans overwhelmed the Cobras for a 5-2 win on Friday. Kellen Harris, Harley Nyhuis and Connor Chesner each found twine for Great Falls in this one. while Luke Schlensner and Robin Bagley put Butte on the board. Griffen McAndrews was a busy man between the Butte pipes, stopping 52 of 57 in the loss.