Riverkings Sweep Yoopers, Advance to Second Round of USPHL Playoffs
City Times Staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — It took an overtime thriller to secure a spot in the second round, as the Riverkings completed a weekend sweep of the Ironwood Fighting Yooopers.
On Friday night, the Riverkings breezed to a 6-0 win to kick off the post-season. However, the first period was a scoreless one, as the Riverkings fired 11 shots on net but were unable to find the back of the net. The second period remained scoreless, as well, until the final two minutes when Brooks Hatfield put the Riverkings up 1-0 with Ryan Mantz and Matyas Kacirek getting the assists.
In the third period, the Riverkings came out firing.
Celebrating his 20th birthday, Matyas Kacirek made it 2-0 Riverkings as he scored a short handed goal with Cole Creger picking up the helper. Tommy McManus made it 3-0 Riverkings as he converted on the Power-Play with Quarters and Peterson grabbing the assists. A little over a minute later, Jesse Edwards made it 4-0 with Zach Curry grabbing the lone assist. Alexander Mavrogiannis made it 5-0 for the home team as Brett Delaat and Peterson grabbed the two assists. Rounding out the scoring and picking up his 2nd goal of the game was Kacirek, with Mantz and Zack Hartley picking up the helpers to make it a 6-0 final.
Goaltender Erik Schuette picked up the win by recording a 20-save shut out. The Riverkings Power-Play went 1-4 on the game and the penalty-kill unit went a perfect 4-4.
Much like Friday night, Saturday opened in similar fashion, as Ironwood opened the scoring to take a 1-0 lead 10 minutes into the first period. The Riverkings knotted up the game at 1-1 with only 1 second to go in the first, as Matyas Kacirek found the back of the net off of a face off play with Ryan Mantz and Cole Creger picking up the assists.
The second period was back and fourth, until Kacirek netted his second goal of the game to give the Riverkings a 2-1 lead with just over four minutes to go. The Yoopers would strike back 29 seconds later to even the score at 2-2 heading into the second intermission.
Brett DeLatt crossing off two out of four games needed to advance to Boston.
The third period saw the Yoopers jump to a 3-2 lead, three minutes into the period as they struck on the Power-Play. The Riverkings pushed back and converted on a Power-Play of their own to make it a 3-3 game as Brett Delaat scored over the goalies glove during the man advantage Power-Play with Mantz and Kacirek picking up the helpers.
In the third, both teams had chances back and fourth, but neither the Yoopers or the Riverkings could find the back of the net, and regulation ended 3-3 and a sudden death overtime would be needed. In overtime, the Riverkings came out firing, as they recorded over 25 shots on a goal, with the 26th shot ending the game at the hands of Ryan Mantz, who would give the Riverkings a 4-3 win and a trip to the second round.
Goaltender Erik Schuette was spectacular all game long making 33 saves on the night including seven big saves in the sudden death overtime. The Riverkings went 1-5 on the Power-Play and killed off 3 of the Yoopers 4 Power-Play chances.
Round two action will kick off on Thursday, March 1, as they hope to lock in another series victory to advance to Boston for the USPHL Championship. They’ll host the Minnesota Blue Ox at the South Wood County Recreational Center in a best-of-three showdown on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.