Saturday Scores: Four more sweep their way to Division Finals
West Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Granite City 4 @ Alexandria 1 (Granite City wins series, 2-0): Quentin Sigurdson stopped all but one of 30 shots that came at him to give Granite City the edge over Alexandria and sweep the series. Brett Reed and Brock Masseth each scored in the 1st period to give the Lumberjacks a lead through 20 minutes. Alexandria’s Ryan Hadland and Granite City’s Andrew Butler traded goals in the 2nd period to make the score 3-1. Kyle Mortenson gave Granite City some insurance with a goal eight minutes into the 3rd period. Joey Greilich kept out 39 of 43 shots in the loss.
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Rochester 5 @ Wausau 1 (Rochester wins series, 2-0): Five different Rochester skaters found the back of the net Saturday evening, helping the Grizzlies take down Wausau and advance in the Fraser Cup Playoffs. Four of Rochester’s goals came in the 1st period, as Luke Morrrisette, Justin Wright, Kade Shea, and Logan Kroyman all scored. After a scoreless middle frame, Cole Gibson added another goal for the visitors early in the 3rd period. Gage Vierzba helped the Cyclones get on the board with an early goal minutes later. Zach Wiese stopped 23 of 24 shots in the win. Zach Dosan completed the night with 37 saves for the Cyclones.
Frontier Division Semi-Finals Game 2: Great Falls 2 @ Helena 8 (Helena wins series 2-0): Helena forward Tylor Greene had a goal and five points to help Helena take down the Americans and win the opening series. Liam Bland gave Helena a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes with a 1st period goal. Samuel Feamster and Bland each scored in the 2nd period while Great Falls’ Jackson Hennengsgard and Bryson Fletcher both scored to keep the deficit at 1. It was all Helena offense in the final frame as Erik Gibboney potted a pair of goals and Taber Gutschick, Greene, and Andrew Deskin also found the back of the net. Eric Buccholz secured the win making an impressive 50 saves. Will Simpson took the loss stopping 73 of 80 shots faced.
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: Long Beach 2 @ Danbury 4 (Danbury wins series, 2-0): Forward Nick Rogers buried a pair of goals and dished an assist to help lift the Jr. Hat Tricks over Long Beach at home and advance in the NA3HL playoffs. Rogers and Dylan Walker each scored in the 1st period to take the early lead. Martin Leps added an insurance goal on the powerplay in the 2nd for Danbury. The Sharks fought back with two consecutive goals in the 3rd from Matt Carson and Tyler Zembrzycki bought Rogers’ empty netter with 13 seconds remaining sealed it. Brennan Churchill grabbed the victory making 39 saves on 41 shots. Greyson Skirpan took the loss, stopping 32 of 35 shots faced.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 2: TX Brahmas 2 @ TX RoadRunners 6 (Series Tied, 1-1): The RoadRunners had their offense rolling early, scoring three goals in the first 11 minutes of the contest which would be enough to lead them past the Brahmas and even the series score at one game a piece. Kyle Portlock, Jack Herron, and Eitan Geralnik were the early goal scorers for the RoadRunners. Keegan McArthur scored late in the period to reduce the deficit to two goals for the Brahmas. In the middle frame, Matej Palfy cut the lead in half with a powerplay goal. It was all RoadRunners in the 3rd period, as Portlock, Ethan Sodoma, and Jack Herron all had goals, Sodoma’s being an empty netter. Hunter Hein was impressive for the RoadRunners, keeping out 44 of 46 shots faced. Brandon Shantz and Dolan Gilbert both spent time in net for the Brahmas, Shantz stopping 2 of 5 shots faced and Gilbert making 18 saves on 20 shots.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Oklahoma City 3 @ El Paso 4 (El Paso leads series, 1-0): Caden Butler’s goal 15:21 into the 3rd period would end as the game winner in El Paso’s game one win over the Ice Hawks. Oklahoma City’s Aaron Best and El Paso’s Zachary Ware would trade goals in the 1st period to keep the scores tied. Lucas Hellend scored early in the middle period to grab the lead for the Ice Hawks but Connor Thompson and Payne Pent answered with goals for the Rhinos before intermission. Robby Rabroker tied the scores with a power play goal five minutes before Butler’s goal. Camden Pendleton made 27 saves for the Rhinos while Nathan Hadley stopped 35 of 39 for the Ice Hawks.