It was another week filled with highs and lows for the teams within the Blizzard organization. The NAHL’s St. Cloud Norsemen suffered a loss to the Wilderness last Wednesday and then got a split with Minot over the weekend. St. Cloud remains six points out of a playoff spot in the Central. The NA3HL’s Willmar Warhawks had another perfect week as they swept Granite City in their 1st round match up. They will now take on North Iowa for a spot in the Fraser Cup Championship Tournament. The NA3HL’s Alexandria had North Iowa where they wanted them after a Game 1 victory on the road, but the Bulls prevailed winning Games 2 and 3 to close out the Blizzard season.
Norsemen Split with Minot
St. Cloud, MN – A huge offensive night for Peyton Hanson powered the St. Cloud Norsemen past the Minot Minotauros 5-3 on Saturday night.
Mid-way through the first, Ryan O’Neill gave St. Cloud the lead with his ninth goal of the season before Peyton Hanson doubled the Norsemen advantage with his first career goal.
Moments into the second, Minot got on the board with a Tyler Kostelecky goal before Jack Suchy scored his seventh of the campaign to give the Norsemen the 3-1 advantage. A power-play goal from Jack Westlund brought Minot back within a goal.
In the third, the Norsemen grew their advantage to 4-2 on Hanson’s second of the game before Logan Anderson, again, clawed the Minotauros to within one. An empty-net goal for Evan Murr, his first in the NAHL, would solidify the victory.
With the win, the Norsemen improve to 13-24-1 and will take on the Aberdeen Wings on Friday, April 9 at 7:00PM in St. Cloud. Mark Shelley will provide the Play-By-Play on the Lyon Sheet Metal & Heating Norsemen Network beginning at 6:50PM on HockeyTV.
For tickets and information on news and upcoming events go to st.cloudnorsemen.com and follow the Norsemen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Willmar on to Division Finals Sweep of Granite City
Willmar met Granite City in the 1st round of the Western Division Semifinals
Willmar traveled to Granite City on Thursday for Game 1 and pulled out a 4-3 victory. Willmar came out firing building a 3-0 lead after the 1st 20 minutes. Ethan Light started the scoring at the 7:21 mark with assists from Jonah Jangula, and Alex Kupka. Willmar added two more, late in the period, from Isaiah Thomas and Kupka. Dylan Gajewski and Lewis Rowan assisted on Thomas’s goal. Hunter Bjorge, and Michael Sweetland set up Kupka’s power play goal. The Warhawks increased the lead to 4-0 early in the 2nd period when Gavin Uckele scored off assists from Thomas and Sweetland. Lukas Haugen made 35 saves as Granite City mounted a comeback, but the Warhawks held on setting up an elimination game on their home ice Friday.
Willmar didn’t let the opportunity in front of them slip away as they completed the sweep with a 3-1 victory in Game 2. Ben Johnson scored the only goal in the 1st period with assists from Alex Kupka, and Jonah Jangula. Granite City tied the game at 1-1 with the lone 2nd period goal setting up an exciting 3rd period. Willmar dominated in shots in the 3rd period but it wasn’t until the final minute when Isaiah Thomas put the Warhawks in front with assists from Lewis Rowan and Dylan Gajewski. Moments later Thomas added an empty netter to send Willmar to the West Division Finals. Lukas Haugen made 31 saves in the Game 2 victory.
Willmar will play North Iowa in a best of three West Division Final this weekend for a spot in the Fraser Cup Championship Tournament. Game 1 will be Friday April 9th in Mason City at 7:30 pm. Game 2 will be Saturday April 10th at the Municipal Athletic Complex (The MAC) in St. Cloud at 7:30 pm. Game 3 (If necessary) will be Sunday April 11th in Mason City at 5:30 pm
Blizzard Eliminated in Game 3
Alexandria took on North Iowa in a 1st round best of 3 series on Easter weekend.
Friday night they traveled to North Iowa and came away with a thrilling 2-1 victory in OT. Wesley Johnson gave the Blizzard a 1-0 lead late in the 2nd period with assists from Caleb Strong and Nikolai Rajala. North Iowa scored late in the 3rd period to force overtime. The extra session didn’t last long as Sean Kenny stole the puck at neutral ice, raced into the Bulls zone and put a deke on Carson Stokes for the game winner. Atticus Kelly played sensational in the win with 41 saves.
Saturday night the Blizzard were looking to advance to the Division Finals on home ice, but North Iowa spoiled the night with a 5-1 victory. The Bulls jumped out to a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the game, before Dallas Duckson scored a power play goal for the Blizzard to pull within a goal. Kaden Peterson and Cole Jacobs got the assists on Duckson’s goal. The momentum shift was short lived, as North Iowa scored just over a minute later for a 3-1 lead. The Bulls tacked on two more in the 2nd and staved off elimination with the 5-1 victory. Bailey Rosch stopped all 20 shots in relief of Kelly.
Sunday was the deciding Game 3 at North Iowa where the Bulls prevailed on their home ice with a 3-1 victory. Trailing 1-0 after the 1st period, Caleb Strong tied the game early in the 2nd period with assists from Nikolai Rajala, and Sean Kenny, but the Bulls answered with two 2nd period goals for a 3-1 lead after two. Alexandria outshot North Iowa in the 3rd but couldn’t get any closer falling 3-1 to end their season.
The Blizzard would like to thank all of the fans, billets, sponsors, RCC staff, and game day workers for all of your support and dedication throughout the season.