Friday Finals: IceRays stun Bulls on opening night of playoffs
April 13, 2019
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Corpus Christi 6 @ Amarillo 5 (Corpus Christi leads series, 1-0) - Twice down by three goals, the Corpus Christi IceRays rallied Friday night to win Game 1 of the South Division Semi-Finals, 6-5, against the Amarillo Bulls. The IceRays scored on three of their four total shots on goal in the third period. Amarillo grabbed an early 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of goals by Gabriel Seger (1:18, 12:39), plus a Jake Willets power-play goal sandwiched between (4:35). The IceRays added a power-play goal of their own at 15:03 when Mitch Walinski scored seven seconds into Corpus Christi’s first man advantage of the contest. The Bulls went back up by three at 10:32 of the second period when Seger completed a hat-trick effort with a power-play goal bounced through the five hole. But Corpus Christi responded just over a minute later, as Blake Bennett scored on Kyle Moore’s rebound at 11:43, then Bennett set up Moore for a goal of his own at 16:43. Che Landikusic tied the game, 4-4, just 36 seconds into the third period, roofing a shot over Amarillo netminder Jason Grande’s glove. Ryan Lautenbach regained the lead for the Bulls at 5:03, but Austin Koss brought the game back to a tie score at 10:19. The game-winning tally came on a give-and-go-and-give-again drive down the ice by Landikusic and Walinski. From just below the right circle, Landikusic fired a shot past Grande’s glove to complete the comeback. Brian George made 26 saves in the win, while Grande made 25 saves in the loss.
South Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Shreveport 1 @ Lone Star 5 (Lone Star leads series, 1-0) – Brahmas goalie Seth Eisele made 32 saves to lead the #2 seed Brahmas to a 5-1 win over the defending champs. After a scoreless 1st period, the Brahmas broke the game open in the 2nd period with four goals in a 12-minute span. Blake Evennou opened the scoring and just over a minute later, Joey Baez scored to make it 2-0. Later in the period, Andrew DeCarlo scored to make it 3-0 and Michal Stinil added the Brahmas 4th goal of the period to make it a 4-0 game. The Mudbugs would finally get on the board midway through the 3rd period as Warren Natyshak lit the lamp, but the Brahmas had an answer later in the period as Baez scored his second of the game to make it a 3-1 final. Mudbugs goalie Maiszon Balboa took the loss, making 9 saves.
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Bismarck 1 @ Minot 5 (Minot leads series, 1-0) – Minot goalie Nick Grabko made 35 saves to lead his team to a Game 1 win on Friday. Minot wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Joseph Harguindeguy put the home side up just 1:42 into the game. Bismarck responded less than five minutes later with what would be their lone goal of the night from Blaine Warnert. Minot would regain their one-goal edge before the period was over as Andrew Kangas scored the eventual game-winning goal to make it 2-1. The Minotauros would add two more goals in the 2nd period from David Raisanen and Matthew Gellerman to make it 4-1, and then Raisanen added his 2nd goal of the night late in the 3rd period on an empty-net to make it a 5-1 final. John Roberts took the loss in goal making 14 saves, while Atticus Kelly was perfect with 18 saves in a relief appearance.
Central Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Austin 1 @ Aberdeen 2 (Aberdeen leads series, 1-0) – The top-seeded Wings got 27 saves from goalie Matt Vernon in a 2-1 win over the visiting Bruins. Aberdeen jumped on the board early in the 1st period on a goal from Joe Strada. The Bruins tied the game midway through the contest as Reggie Millette scored for Austin to make it 1-1. Midway through the 3rd period, the Wings found the game-winner off the stick of Brad Belisle. Austin goalie Kyle McClellan made 24 saves in the loss.
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Northeast 1 @ Johnstown 4 (Johnstown leads series, 1-0) – Roman Kraemer had two goals and an assist as the top-ranked Tomahawks opened their playoffs with a 4-1 home win over the Generals. Johnstown took a 1-0 lead thanks to a 1st period goal from Carson Briere. Kraemer took over the in the 2nd period, scoring a pair of goals for the Tomahawks to make it 3-0. Andy Nedeljkovic scored for the Tomahawks early in the 3rd period to make it 4-0 before the Generals got their lone goal later in the 3rd period courtesy of Svet Kuchynski. Tomahawks goalie Carter McPhail made 23 saves in the win, while Generals goalie David Fessenden made 26 saves in the loss.
East Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: New Jersey 3 @ Jamestown 5 (Jamestown leads series, 1-0) – The Rebels got two goals from Jim Glynn and broke a 3-3 tie with two goals in the 3rd period to pick up a 5-3 win in Game 1. The Rebels jumped ahead 2-0 with a pair of 1st period goals from Jake Felker and Niki Jasko. The Titans made a game of things in the 2nd period as they scored three times with goals from Chris Garbe, Spencer Stanley and Kyler Head, while Glynn scored his first goal of the game for the Rebels to make it a 3-3 hockey game after two period of play. In the 3rd period, the Rebels got goals from Alex Roy and another from Glynn to put the game on ice. Ryan Keane made 22 saves in the Rebels win, while Brandon Perrone made 30 saves in the Titans loss.
Midwest Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Janesville 0 @ Fairbanks 2 (Fairbanks leads series, 1-0) – Ice Dogs goalie Mattias Sholl picked up in the playoffs right where he left off in the regular season, by stopping all 26 shots that came his way for the only playoff shutout on Friday as the Ice Dogs blanked the Jets in Game 1, 2-0. Most of the game was a goalie duel between Sholl and Jets goalie Cole Brady. However, the Ice Dogs broke through for the only two goals in the 2nd period as Ty Proffitt and Luke Mobley provided the only scoring of the game. Brady made 33 saves in the losing effort.
Midwest Division Semi-Finals, Game 1: Springfield 3 @ MN Magicians 4 (Magicians lead series, 1-0) – The Magicians jumped out to a three-goal lead and held off a late Jr. Blues rally to take Game 1 by a score of 4-3. It was all Magicians through the first half of the contest as Jackson Jutting netted a 1st period goal, which was followed by two more goals in the 2nd period from Matthew Stanton and Moritz Wirth to make it 3-0 at the midway point. The Jr. Blues got on the board late in the 2nd period with a goal from Nikita Kozyrev to make it 3-1. The lead was increased back to three goals in the 3rd period as Cameron Buhl netted the eventual game-winning goal. Springfield tried to make it a game as Brandon Puricelli scored back-to-back goals later in the 3rd period to make it 4-3, but the Jr. Blues could not find the equalizer in the late stages. Magicians goalie Ethan Haider made 20 saves in the win, while Jack Williams made 18 saves in the loss.