Lonkila Plays Stopper as Minot Rallies to Take Series
The Minot Minotauros needed a full year, but they were able to avenge an upset when they won Monday night to finish off the first round of the North American Hockey League’s Robertson Cup playoffs.
Ryan Green, Ondrej Pavel and Nolan Sawchuk scored to back a 39-save shutout from Samu Lonkila in a 3-0 win over the Aberdeen Wings in the fifth and deciding game of the Central Division semifinal series.
Minot finished fourth in the Central Division while Aberdeen was winning the regular-season title.
Last year, Minot won the division, but was upset by fourth-seeded Aberdeen in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
Aberdeen had a 2-1 series lead before Lonkila stopped 60 of 61 shots in the final two games of the series.
UP NEXT: Minot’s win completed the pairings for the division finals.
Minot will play the Austin Bruins. The Philadelphia Rebels will face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in the East Division. The Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Janesville Jets will play in the Midwest and the Lone Star Brahmas take on the Shreveport Mudbugs in the South.
ROBERTSON ROUNDUP: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Philadelphia won the NAHL’s other five-game, first-round series.
Christian Stoever stopped 100 of 102 shots in the last two games to rally Wilkes-Barre/Scranton past the New Jersey Titans. He had 49 saves in Sunday’s 5-2 win in the deciding game.
Stoever made 51 saves in a 1-0 win in Game 4.
Brandon Stanley had a goal and two assists and Ryan Keane stopped all 19 shots he faced when Philadelphia blanked the Northeast Generals, 5-0, in the deciding game.
Both Midwest series were sweeps.
Regular-season overall champion Fairbanks scored twice in the final five minutes to rally past the Minnesota Magicians, 4-3, in the third game.
Hunter Wendt and Connor Chilton each had a goal and an assist.
Garrett Nieto had two shutouts for Janesville in its sweep of the Springfield Junior Blues, including with 20 saves in the 1-0 Game 3 victory.
Defending Robertson Cup champion Lone Star swept the Odessa Jackalopes, including a 4-1 Game 3 win in which Mitchell Gibson made 27 saves.
Ryan Burnett’s second goal of the game, two seconds after a third-period power play ended, lifted Shreveport past the Corpus Christi Ice Rays, 2-1, in Game 5.
CLARK CUP: Samuel Salonen scored with 5:20 remaining Saturday night to make the Youngstown Phantoms the first team to take a 2-0 lead in a second-round Clark Cup playoffs series.
Salonen’s goal and 34 saves by Ivan Prosvetov gave Youngstown a 3-2 victory over the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the second game of their United States Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal.
Prosvetov had 33 saves Friday in a 3-1 win.
Illinois native Cameron Rowe made 34 saves when USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program shut out the defending champion Chicago Steel, 3-0, in the opener of its Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Fargo Force and Lincoln Stars each posted one-goal victories in Western Conference semifinal openers Saturday.
Fargo defeated the Omaha Lancers 2-1. Mark Senden’s short-handed breakaway goal gave the Force a 2-0 lead in the second period. Fargo’s Strauss Mann, who has given up just two goals in three playoff games, all wins, had 29 saves.
GOING OVERTIME: Michigan native Paul Cotter scored his second straight overtime game-winner to lift Lincoln over the Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2.
Derek Schaedig made 40 saves in the win.
Cotter scored 3:10 into the overtime.
In the opening round against the Sioux Falls Stampede, Cotter scored the series-winning goal in overtime.
Lincoln overcame a two-goal deficit in the third and deciding game to beat Sioux Falls, 5-4, on Cotter’s goal with 34.8 seconds left in overtime.
The Stars lost the series opener, but came back with a 6-3 win in the second game.
Chicago also advanced with a 5-4 overtime win in Game 3.
Aaro Vidgren scored 4:37 into overtime to finish off the series with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
The Steel scored the winner 41 seconds into a power play.
ONE-TIMERS: Fargo advanced to the second round of the Clark Cup playoffs with a 3-0 Game 2 shutout of the Tri-City Storm behind 20 saves by Mann … Dubuque swept the Green Bay Gamblers, 2-1 and 5-1, in the first round of the Clark Cup playoffs … Austin advanced by beating the Minnesota Wilderness in four games in the first round of the Robertson Cup, moving on when Dante Zapata, Dante Sheriff and Travis Kothenbeutel registered a goal and an assist in a clinching, 5-3 win.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.