The St. Cloud Norsemen’s regular season came to an end on a sour note as the game was tied in the third period and they had a chance to clinch home ice advantage in the first round with a win and eliminate Aberdeen from the playoffs with a regulation win. Unfortunately, the Wings got the last four goals of the game, won 7-3 and now St. Cloud goes back to Aberdeen for the first weekend of the postseason.
Six minutes into the game Aberdeen dumped the puck in from left to right and won the race to the puck in the corner. Jordan Ronn threw it at the net and it somehow found a sliver of daylight and slipped in 6:09 into the game to give the Wings a 1-0 lead. However, right from the restart faceoff after the goal the Norsemen won the puck back to Carter Bradley who skated it up the right wing boards and paid the price for dumping it in absorbing a check. From there Andrew Cumming went to work forechecking below the goal line and he helped work the puck behind the cage. Jack Wandmacher couldn’t get clean possession but he tied up his man, touched the puck and left it for Hunter Hanson. Hanson made a great backhand feed with his back to the net and hit Cumming out front. Cumming wasted no time firing from the slot, scoring his first NAHL goal 13 seconds after Aberdeen’s. St. Cloud caught a bad break though halfway through the first as an official inadvertently collided with Norsemen defensemen Severi Sulonen and Aberdeen took advantage as they kept the point on an attempetd clearance, a couple of quick passes put the puck on the tape of Luke Lindsay and he snapped a wrister through a sea of traffic that found the back of the net to give Aberdeen the lead going into the second period after outshooting St. Cloud by a single shot on goal 12-11.
St. Cloud didn’t get off to the start they were looking for in the second when in the first two minutes Nick Justice did a nice job to draw two Norsemen to him then slipped the puck to open space at the right wall that Alexander Gullichsen skated into. Gullichsen snapped a shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Tomáš Boľo and ended his night 1:52 into the second period. Ethan Dahlmeir came on in relief and helped the Norsemen get back to even. A Rambow Power Play helped St. Cloud pull back within one as four and a half minutes into the second the Norsemen got their first man advantage of the game. All five Norsemen skaters touched the puck consecutively on the Norsemen tally as Broten Sabo did a nice job dancing at the blue line with the puck to just keep it alive in the offensive third. Sabo backhanded it off the right wall to Peterson who fed it back to Sabo at the right point. Sabo switched it to Perbix who was on the outskirts of the left circle. Perbix walked it close to the faceoff dot and fed it to Daniels Murnieks. Murnieks from the goal line one-touched it Tyler Dysart who wasted no time getting it off his stick as he buried a goal in the far side of th enet to bring the Norsemen within one 3-2 after a period that fairly saw each team trade goals while shots on goal were even 11-11 in the frame.
St. Cloud wasted no time getting on the board in the third in a period where the Noresemen outshot Aberdeen 14-6. Sabo used a great angle to get out of his zone, the puck went off the left boards and hit Sinjem at the center line. Sinjem found a lane to Perbix whose shot was blocked but went into the corner. Bradley attacked and sealed the boards so an attempted Aberdeen clear trickled past Bradley but stayed in the zone and went to the tape of Murnieks covering for Bradley at the blue line. Murnieks made a skilled play to keep the line and slid it to Sinjem at the left side. Sinjem found Bradley charging towards the net and Bradley’s shot was deflected wide but it kicked off the back glass and out front to Perbix who slipped it into the net. A lengthy discussion took place as it was tough to tell if the puck crossed the line or not but the officials ruled it a goal and it tied the game 1:12 into the third.
From that point the Norsemen pushed hard, including successfully killing off a five-minute major, but despite St. Cloud outshooting Aberdeen down the stretch in the third it seemed like the Wings couldn’t miss in the final frame of the weekend. In the last ten and a half minutes of the game Aberdeen scored four to make the final look like it may have been decided long before it was, with the Wings prevailing 7-3.
The Norsemen are back in St. Cloud this week but will be on the road back to Aberdeen this weekend with the Wings finishing as the #2 seed and hosting the Norsemen as the #3 seed. The two teams will battle for the third consecutive weekend with games Friday and Saturday and the puck dropping at 7:15 each night. The games can be heard with Erick Zamora on the call on hockeytv.com.
The next time the Norsemen are back in St. Cloud at the MAC will be Friday, April 21st with a 7:15 start. Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.stcloudnorsemen.com.