This week saw St. Cloud beat Minot and climb back to within a point of the final playoff spot before losing two to Aberdeen over the weekend to put them 3 points behind the Minnesota Wilderness for the final playoff spot in the Central Division. This weekend they’ll play three in a row including two against the Austin Bruins who are one point ahead of the Norsemen. The two NA3HL teams concluded their draft with Alexandria picking up 3 players and Willmar selecting 10 new players.
Norsemen Build Momentum with Perfect Week
St. Cloud, MN – The St. Cloud Norsemen used a late, tying goal and two shootout tallies to top the Minot Minotauros 3-2 in the shootout to win their fourth straight game.
Chase Freiermuth scored the opening goal of the game just 1:35 into the contest before Minot answered with a Tyler Kostelecky tally. Late in the period, Minot, again, found the back of the net as Ethan Schmunk gave the Minotauros the 2-1 lead.
After a number of denied chances for both sides in the second period, Evan Murr tied the game for the Norsemen with his second of the season mid-way through the third.
The game would need to be decided in a shootout, and the Norsemen saw Jack Suchy tie the exchange before Ryan O’Neill netted the game-winning tally.
The Norsemen victory earned the team two points, bringing the team within one point of a playoff spot with seven games remaining.
In Friday night action, Jake Sibell won his 39th game of the season by making 24 saves as the Aberdeen Wings took care of the St. Cloud Norsemen 4-1. Kyle Gaffney grabbed the game’s first goal to give his team a lead heading into the first intermission. Clayton Cosentino and Natan Vertes logged goals in the second before Cullen Ferguson capped off the win with an empty net goal. Ryan O’Neill netted his 15th goal of the year in the loss. Paxton Geisel stopped 33 shots for St. Cloud.
St Cloud kept it close on Saturday before Payton Matsui scored twice in the third period to lift the Aberdeen Wings to a 3-2 win over the Norsemen. Trevor Russell contributed a goal and an assist for the Wings who won their sixth contest in a row. Kyle Gaffney registered two assists while Jake Sibell made 27 saves. Ryan O’Neill provided all the offense for the Norsemen while Josh Langford was given the loss despite stopping 29 shots.
Blizzard Land 3 in NA3HL Draft
The Alexandria Blizzard had a rather quick draft as they look to retool for next year. With the 15th overall pick in the 1st round they chose Hayden Helgeson. The Grand Forks ND native, played this last year at the North Star Christian Academy and before that, the Sioux Falls Power. The right handed forward had 16 points in 12 games of the NAPHL schedule, 29 points in 42 games plus 6 points in 6 playoff games. In the 2nd round the Blizzard got Aiden Emerson and Ryan Mulrenin. Emerson is from Rochester MN. He played at Century High this past year and was 4th on the team in scoring with 14 points in 19 games. Mulrenin, a Wayzata MN native scored 55 points in 57 this past season while playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers 18U team.
Willmar Select 10 in NA3HL Draft
The Willmar Warhawks, on the other hand were busy filling out their roster with 10 draft picks. They include defenseman Tate Hammitt out of Bemidji High School, Joe Greniuk a defenseman from Elk River, Joey Kennelly a forward from Grand Forks Central, forward Tony Leahy from Roseville High School, Cody Ticen, a goalie from Lakeville South, Enzo Tarducci a defensemen from Novi, MI. Rounding out their picks were Robby Pustulka, a forward from Fox Motor U18, defenseman Colten Gerken from Anchorage, AK, Marc Lund, a forward from Holy Family Catholic High School, and forward Sam Jacobs from Maple Grove High School.