The St. Cloud Norsemen are moving on to the North American Hockey League Central Division Finals after taking a 3-2 win over the Bismarck Bobcats on Monday night at the Municipal Athletic Complex.
Norsemen forward Blake Mesenburg (Miami University commit) scored twice and forward Max Strand (Vermont commit, Mr. Hockey) added the eventual game-winner, helping St. Cloud clinch the first round playoff series three games to two.
St. Cloud will face the Aberdeen Wings in the Central Division Finals, a best-of-five series that will determine the Central Division champion and team that will advance to the final four of the 2022 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs. As the top seed, the Norsemen have home ice advantage.
The playoff series between St. Cloud and Aberdeen will begin this Friday and Saturday, May 6-7, with both games at 7:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex. Tickets are on sale now at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com — Playoff tickets are just $5 and the $2 Coors and Coors Light beer special will continue throughout the playoffs.
The Norsemen heavily outshot Bismarck in Game 5 beginning with a first period in which St. Cloud held a 20-3 advantage in shots on goal. But the period ended scoreless.
St. Cloud broke the scoreless tie at 14:29 of the second with one second remaining on the power play. Mesenburg tallied his first goal of the playoffs and first of the game, assisted by forwards Blake Perbix and Ryan O’Neill.
At 5:32 of the third period, Mesenburg chipped the puck past Bobcats netminder Oskar Spinnars Nordin, with assists awarded to Strand and defenseman Broten Sabo, to make it a 2-0 St. Cloud lead.
Bismarck struck back just over four minutes later on the power play to pull within one.
With under four minutes to play, Strand fired home his second goal of the playoffs to put the Norsemen on top 3-1. O’Neill and Wyatt Wurst earned assists on the goal, for Wurst it was his first point in the NAHL.
Max Strand delivers the potential dagger for the @StCloudNorsemen!#RobertsonCup pic.twitter.com/inIxZsvtHO
— NAHL (@NAHLHockey) May 3, 2022
With the goalie pulled and an extra attacker on, Bismarck scored with 46 seconds remaining to pull within one. But the Norsemen held on and clinched the series win with a 3-2 final.
St. Cloud outshot Bismarck 47-25, with goaltender Tomas Bolo making 23 saves in his 32nd win of the season.
The Norsemen Playoffs are presented by Premier Real Estate Services.
Playoff games will be broadcast live for subscribers on HockeyTV with Voice of the Norsemen, Ashley Chase.
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