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Kyle Bauman leads Wichita Falls to hot start in NAHL

09/19/2013, 2:00pm EDT
By Tom Robinson - Special to USAHockey.com

Kyle Bauman scored twice in the North American Hockey League season opener last week and came up with another two-goal game Wednesday as the NAHL Showcase got underway.

In Friday’s NAHL opener, Bauman helped the Wichita Falls Wildcats shut out the Odessa Jackalopes 4-0. The Wildcats and Jackalopes played one of four Opening Night games, with their game starting minutes before the others.

Bauman’s two goals and Chase Munroe’s 18-save shutout led Friday’s first win. On Saturday, Wichita Falls completed a two-game sweep of Odessa with a 6-2 win Saturday. Tyler Ledford had four assists for the Wildcats, Bauman had another goal and Munroe made 30 saves for a second straight win.

The NAHL Showcase began on Wednesday. Bauman’s second goal Wednesday came with less than a minute left in overtime and produced a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Magicians.

As of Wednesday night, Wichita Falls and the Fairbanks Ice Dogs were the only 3-0 teams in the league.

The 3-0 start by Fairbanks also includes win on Opening Night and on the first day of the showcase. Fairbanks used three goals in the third period for a 5-1 win over the Kenai River Brown Bears, then scored the game’s final two goals in the third to rally for a 5-4 win in Saturday’s rematch.

The Ice Dogs played the NAHL Showcase opener and dominated the Springfield Jr. Blues, racking up a 38-13 shot advantage in a 4-1 win.

Matt Lison and A.J. Duggan each scored twice when the Lone Star Brahmas defeated the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 4-3 in overtime in an Opening Night meeting of two new NAHL teams. Lison forced overtime with third-period goals less than three minutes apart and Duggan won it in overtime.

Topeka was actually the first NAHL team to 3-0 before the RoadRunners fell 5-2 to the Wenatchee Wild on the first day of the showcase.

The RoadRunners gave up just one goal in their first three games. Drew Vogler made 32 saves in his NAHL debut, a 2-1 win over the Corpus Christi Ice Rays. Vogler and Blake Wojtala then posted back-to-back shutouts.

The NAHL Showcase, which continues through Sunday in Blaine, Minn., is in its 11th season. All 24 NAHL teams are playing four league games. The showcase also includes 32 teams from the North American Prospects Hockey League, eight from the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, High Performance Hockey League teams and four other 16U teams from around the country.

Trevor Gorsuch made 38 saves to lead the Michigan Warriors to a 3-1 win over the Brookings Blizzard and the defending Robertson Cup champion Amarillo Bulls defeated the Johnstown Tomahawks 6-3 in other showcase games.

MORE OPENERS: Eric Salzillo and Bryan Komasara scored two goals each while Ryan Hubbard made 35 saves Friday afternoon when the Eastern Hockey League made its debut with the Boston Bandits routing the Philadelphia Revolution, 8-3.

Bryan Hovanec scored the first goal and assisted on the second Sept. 12 when the U.S. Premier Hockey League Elite Division got underway with the Bay State Breakers defeating the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs, 3-1.

MINNESOTA CROSSOVERS: The Great Lakes Division got stronger as the event progressed, but it was two Minnesota Division teams — the Dells Ducks and Twin Cities Northern Lights — that posted the only 4-0 records when the Minnesota Junior Hockey League gathered in Rochester, Minn. for a series of crossover games over four days.

The Minnesota Division, which dominated last season’s crossovers, had a 16-8 edge in wins for the first three days before the Great Lakes Division won five of eight Sunday.

Dells piled up 102 shots on goal in a 15-1 win over the St. Louis Frontenacs in one of the openers. Jimmy Buckhingham scored seven goals, including two on the power play and two while shorthanded, and had two assists.

Twin Cities allowed just seven goals total in its four wins. The Northern Lights completed a spotless weekend when Andrew Bergquist’s unassisted third-period goal broke a tie and beat the Fort Wayne Federals, 3-2.

GETTING READY: Team USA allowed just one goal while winning both of its games at the United States Hockey League East Fall Classic, a preseason event. Edwin Minney made 23 saves in a 2-0 win over the Chicago Steel Friday and Team USA beat the Youngstown Phantoms 3-1 Saturday with two goals in the final 2:34.

The Dubuque Fighting Saints used an offensive approach to beat the same two teams. Alexx Privitera had two goals in each game, a 6-2 win over Youngstown and a 7-3 victory over Chicago.

The Omaha Lancers were the only team to win both their games at the USHL West Fall Classic.

The regular season opens Friday with three games: Youngstown at Team USA, the Sioux City Musketeers at the Fargo Force and the Green Bay Gamblers at Chicago.

ONE-TIMERS: Of the 40 players who will participate in the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game Sept. 26 in Pittsburgh, 33 play or have played in the USHL. … The defending champion North Iowa Bulls got their North American 3 Hockey League season started with three straight victories in which they allowed a total of four goals. … The Northern Pacific Hockey League was unable to finalize last-minute plans to add an expansion team in Everett and settled on a 40-game schedule for each of five teams — the Bellingham Blazers, Eugene Generals, Tri Cities Outlaws, Fort Vancouver Vipers and West Sound Warriors — beginning Sept. 27.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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