By Jim den Hollander
All but one of the 29 NAHL teams hit the ice on the opening day of the 2022 NAHL Showcase Tournament at the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, MN Wednesday Sept. 14.
For most teams the games were their season openers, a few having played on the previous weekend.
Following are summaries of games involving Midwest-based teams in the order they were played.
Maryland Black Bears 2 Janesville Jets 3
Will Troutwine (’02/Eveleth, MN) scored the only goal of the final period, 47 seconds from the final buzzer to lift the Jets to a 3-2 season opening win against the Maryland Black Bears from the East Division.
The Bears notched the lone goal of the opening period before Jimmy Doyle (’02/Plainfield, IL) and Ryan Friedman (’03/Long Island, NY) scored a little over five minutes part to briefly put the Jets in front 2-1.
Selby Warren (’02/Toronto, ON) stopped 24 of 26 to open the season with a win in goal for the Jets.
Northeast Generals 1 Austin Bruins 3
After falling behind in the opening period, the Bruins struck back with goals from Walter Zacher (’02/Buffalo, NY) and Jackson Rilei (’04/Calumet, MI) 2:41 apart in the middle period. Rilei’s goal was the game winner against the Generals from the Eastern Division.
Matys Brassard (’03/Montreal,QC) added some insurance in the third period. Ethan Robertson (’02/Courtice, ON) stopped all but one of 21 shots to collect the win in goal for the Bruins.
Bismarck Bobcats 3 Lone Star Brahmas 5
Evan Hunter (’04/Appleton, WI) opened the scoring and Landon Flemming (’04/Oregon, WI) notched another on a powerplay to pace the Bobcats to a 2-1 lead in the opening period, but Hunter needed another to knot the game at 3-3 early in the final period.
The Brahmas, from the South Division scored two in the final 10 minutes to break the tie and send the Cats to a season opening defeat.
Johnstown Tomahawks 1 Chippewa Steel 6
The Steel scored the first four before James Barbour (’02/Lake Forest, IL) shattered the shutout bid of Adam Gajan (’04/Slovakia) 6:24 from the final buzzer for the East Division’s Johnstown Tomahawks.
Joe Kelly (’03/Eau Claire, WI) and Kade Nelson (’02/Burnsville, MN) fired two goals each, Kelly adding an assist and the other Steel goals came from Joey Sylvester (’05/Inver Grove Heights, MN) and Cody Kempf (’04/Middleton, WI).
Oklahoma Warriors 7 Minot Minotauros 3
The Bulls were even at 1-1 after a period but three straight Warriors’ goals in the middle period opened a lead the Warriors never relinquished.
Home towner Owen Hanson (’03/Minot, ND) opened the scoring for the Tauros with other goals for Nick O’Hanisain (’02/Troy, MI) and Nick Sewecke (’03/Sewickley, PA).
Fairbanks Ice Dogs 1 Aberdeen Wings 4
The Wings bounced back from a 1-0 first period deficit with two in both the second and third frames two snap the Ice Dogs’ season opening win streak at two.
Wings’ goals came from Nikolai Tishkevich (’04/Belarus); Luke Lindsay (’03/Eau Claire, WI); Alexander Gullichsen (’02/Finland) and Jason Grosdidier (04/Sioux Falls, SD).
Geno Pichora (’03/Bethel Park, PA) played a big part, leading his team to the win with a 42-save effort in a game that saw the Wings outshot 43-30.
Windigo Wildcats 0 North Iowa Bulls 5
A 19-save shutout for Erik Chaffe (’03/Marion, IA) led the Bulls to a win to the lone game between two Midwest-based teams as the Central Division’s Bulls collected the win and sent the Midwest Division’s team to a defeat in its first game.
Joe Sweeney (’03/San Jose, CA); Max Scott (’02/San Jose, CA); Justin Mexico (’03/Madison Heights); Cayden Casey (’04/Elk River, MN) and Hunter Bulger (’02/St. Louis, MO) fired the Bulls’ goals.
St. Cloud Norsemen 2 New Mexico Ice Wolves 5
The Norsemen kicked off its season. falling behind 2-0 in the opening period and traling 3-1 entering the third.
Tyler Dysart (’04/Sunnyvale, CA) and Daniel Murnieks (’02/Latvia) fired the St. Cloud markers while Tomas Bolo (’02/Slovakia) made 25 saves in goal.
Shreveport Mudbugs 3 Minnesota Wilderness 1
The Wilderness fell to 0-3 on the young season and were outshot 33-20 by the Mudbugs from the South Division.
A goal 1:44 into the contest had the Bugs up 1-0 all the way to the final period and they doubled the margin near the halfway mark.
Cole Gordon (’02/Windsor, CO) scored the lone Wilderness goal with 6:29 to play and Isak Posch (’02/Sweden) stopped 30 of 32 shots, the final one slid into an empty cage 49 seconds from the final buzzer.
El Paso Rhinos 2 Springfield Jr. Blues 1
This thriller saw a single goal in each period. Tyler Borgula (’05/Livonia, MI) scored the lone first period goal for the Blues before the Rhinos tied it early in the second and grabbed its first and only lead early in the third.
Aksel Reid (’03/Minneapolis, MN) stopped 29 of 31 in goal for the Blues before dashing to the bench with 1:50 to play in the contest in favor of an extra attacker.