Lucas Kohls scored twice, including once in triple overtime, to end the longest game in North American Hockey League history. Kohls’ goal on Saturday night gave the Austin Bruins a 4-3 victory over Minot and advanced the team to the next round of the Robertson Cup playoffs with a three-games-to-one series win.
Minot led 2-0 after one period in Game 4, but Austin recovered to force a 3-3 tie after two periods. The teams did not score again until 3:02 remained in the third overtime, ending 116:58 of hockey.
Brandon Wildung made 67 saves for Minot, including back-to-back stops, before Kohls converted a loose rebound to end the series. Nick Lehr had 50 stops for Austin in the win.
The previous longest NAHL game had lasted 113:47 April 8, 2010, when the St. Louis Bandits defeated the Texas Tornado 3-2.
ROBERTSON CUP: The Bismarck Bobcats and Wenatchee Wild, a pair of third-place teams in their divisions, each advanced in the Robertson Cup playoffs along with six teams that had the home-ice advantage in the first round.
The division finals, which begin Friday, are all best of five. Bismarck is playing Austin in the Central Division and Wenatchee is taking on Fairbanks in the Midwest Division. The top two seeds meet in the North, where the division champion Port Huron Fighting Falcons play the Michigan Warriors. The South’s top teams, the division champion Amarillo Bulls and the Topeka RoadRunners, also will play.
Wenatchee and Fairbanks each wrapped up 3-2 series victories with overtime wins Saturday. The Wild pulled out a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wilderness when Chase Perry made 48 saves and Omar Mullen scored late in the first extra session. Kyle Lee scored 4:44 into overtime to lead Fairbanks over the Kenai River Brown Bears, 3-2.
Evan Giesler scored six goals for Bismarck during a three-game sweep.
BIRTHDAY TRICK: Defenseman Brandon Montour’s hat trick on his 20th birthday Friday got the regular-season champion Waterloo Black Hawks off to a high-scoring start in the United States Hockey League’s Clark Cup playoffs.
The Black Hawks defeated the Sioux Falls Stampede 7-4 Friday and 6-3 Saturday to open a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five first-round series. Waterloo can become the first team to advance when the Clark Cup playoffs resume Thursday night.
Blake Winiecki scored two goals in the opener and had four points in Game 2. After two games, Winiecki has six points, Tyler Sheehy has five, Montour and Liam Pecararo have four and Drew Melanson has three.
Montour finished ninth in the USHL in scoring with 62 points in 60 games for the most points by a defenseman in the league’s Tier I era. His 48 assists were second best in the league. Montour came within five points of the USHL defenseman record of 67 points set by Mike Ross with the Rochester Mustangs in the 1986-87 season.
CLARK CUP: Sioux City also opened a 2-0 lead in a first-round Clark Cup series. The Musketeers went on the road to defeat the Lancers in Omaha, 4-3 in overtime Saturday and 2-1 Sunday.
Avery Peterson had two goals, including the overtime winner, Saturday. Kyle Hayton had 40 saves in the first game and 33 in the second for Sioux City.
The other two series — the Green Bay Gamblers against the Indiana Ice and the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders — are both tied 1-1. Green Bay overcame a 2-0 shutout loss Friday to post a 6-5 win Saturday. Dubuque and Cedar Rapids split one-goal games.
ONE-TIMERS: Todd Burgess, an 18-year-old forward from Phoenix, Ariz., playing with the NAHL’s Fairbanks Ice Dogs, has committed to play at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. … Matt Weis (4-7--11) and Nick Schmaltz (5-5--10) each scored in all six games when Green Bay won five of its last six regular-season games to grab the last USHL playoff berth. … The USHL has formally approved the Bloomington Thunder, an expansion franchise in Illinois, for the 2014-15 season. … Greg Sponholtz resigned as coach of the Northern Pacific Hockey League’s Tri-Cities Outlaws.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
March 27, 2017 | When USA Hockey implemented its American Development Model in 2009, one element of the nationwide age-appropriate training blueprint sparked more debate than any other: cross-ice hockey for 8U players. In the years since, an abundance of evidence, both data-driven and anecdotal, has proven the developmental advantages of cross-ice hockey.
This week, Hockey Canada announced that it too will introduce its players to the game through cross-ice play beginning in 2017-18.
“Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck touches, which result in more chances to practice puck control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill-development – twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development for Hockey Canada, in a release today. “Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren’t conducive to.”
The Grassroots Show on Ottawa’s TSN 1200 weighed in on the decision. Click the audio link below to hear how Canada is embracing cross-ice hockey for the coming season and beyond.
Tom Renney, president and CEO of Hockey Canada, appeared on the Grassroots Show to discuss the nationwide shift to cross-ice hockey, beginning this fall for 5- and 6-year-olds and expanding to all of Canada's Novice (8U) level in 2018-19.
“When you see 10 or 12 or 14 or 16 kids out on the ice in between periods and they’re playing 200-by-85 and 3 or 4 kids touch the puck in that whole six minutes, yet there’s people in the stands clapping and thinking it’s wonderful, I just can’t help but think about the 95 percent of the children that didn’t even touch the puck or get from one end of the rink to the other and I ask myself what are we doing when the opportunity is certainly there to have 30 kids on the ice playing cross-ice and everyone is having a much better opportunity to touch the puck, skate a shorter distance and really play. It just boggles my mind,” said Renney.
“We completely embrace, at the Initiation level and the Novice level, cross-ice hockey and we have mandated that in the Initiation program and we will mandate it across the country in Novice hockey.
“This is about the pure enjoyment of the game, and your first connection with it has to be something that’s pure fun, on a surface of play that is conducive to much more participation and joy.”
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