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Minotauros Capture NAHL Central Division Lead

By Tom Robinson, 11/15/18, 6:15PM MST

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Minot’s Nicholas Grabko among several NAHL goalies with strong weekend performances

Nicholas Grabko got all three wins in goal when the Minot Minotauros took the North American Hockey League Central Division lead with two weekend victories over the Austin Bruins, then expanded it with a 4-3 win Monday at home over the Bismarck Bobcats.               

Justin Kelly assisted on a goal for a 2-0 lead in the first period, then scored in the second period for a 3-1 advantage Monday.

Brennan Couet had two assists. Andrew Kangas redirected a Couet shot from the point for a 4-2 lead.               

Grabko, an 18-year-old from Channahon, Illinois, starred in two straight road wins in Austin. He had 30 saves in a 2-0 shutout Friday, then 32 in a 4-2 victory Saturday.

“He gave us a chance to win both games and he gives our players confidence in front of him,” Minot coach Marty Murray said, according to a story on the league website. “Even though he’s a first-year player, he plays like a seasoned veteran.”               

Some of that is no doubt due to his previous experience at USA Hockey’s National Player Development Camp and USA Hockey Youth Tier I Nationals. With those high-profile events already under his belt, Grabko improved to 9-2 on the young season with 21 saves in Monday’s win. He is fourth in the league with a .933 save percentage.               

BUSY GOALIES: Carter McPhail also won three NAHL games from Friday through Sunday, stopping 85 of 89 shots for the NAHL’s Johnstown Tomahawks.              

Jacob Mucitelli was in goal for the Lincoln Stars Friday, Saturday and Sunday, starting and ending the weekend with strong performances in United States Hockey League victories.               

Mucitelli made 33 saves in Friday in a 2-1 win over the Sioux Falls Stampede. He then made 27 saves Sunday for a 3-0 shutout of the Tri-City Storm.               

The Clarkson University commit is fifth in the USHL with a 2.67 goals against average.               

CONSECUTIVE SHUTOUTS: The Seahawks Hockey Club posted consecutive shutout wins in the Eastern Hockey League’s Showcase Series Sunday and Monday in Haverhill, Massachusetts.              

Patrick O’Neal had a hat trick and the defense allowed just 15 shots on goal in Sunday’s 7-0 rout of the North Carolina Golden Bears.               

Jeremy Vasquez scored the first two goals on special teams in Monday’s 3-0 win over Team Maryland.               

Vasquez opened the scoring with a short-handed goal, then added a goal on the power play.               

Ethan Williams made 17 saves for the shutout.               

MORE DEFENSE: Defenses dominated the EHL Showcase.               

Four other teams went 2-0 while allowing just one goal.               

The New Hampshire Avalanche was the most dominant of those teams, outscoring opponents 18-1.             

The East Coast Wizards won by a combined margin of 11-1, the Philadelphia Little Flyers by 8-1 and the Philadelphia Revolution by 6-1.               

COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Former USA Hockey National Player Development Camp invitee Joe Berg, now a forward with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, has committed to play at Princeton University.               

Berg, a 19-year-old from Plano, Texas, played 41 games with the Omaha Lancers the previous two seasons before being acquired by the Storm in a trade.               

ONE-TIMERS: Cal Couell scored two goals, including the overtime game-winner Monday to allow the Texas Brahmas to complete a three-game road sweep of the Louisiana Drillers and hold on two first place in the North American 3 Hockey League South Division lead … The New Jersey 87's also went 2-0 in the EHL Showcase … The Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques improved to 17-1 in the NA3HL Monday, but were tested in the process, needing three assists from Floridian Donovan Tehan to beat the New England Stars, 4-2.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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