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Around The Rinks: Anchorage Wolverines fall hard in Game 1 of NAHL semis, eat 8-2 loss to Lone Star Brahmas

by | May 17, 2024 | Cover Story, Hockey

Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

By the time the Anchorage Wolverines got their game in gear Friday afternoon, it was the third period, and it was too little, too late.

The Lone Star Brahmas had already dropped a six-goal anvil on the Wolverines through two periods on the march to an 8-2 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-3 North American Hockey League semifinals in Blaine, Minn.

And now the Wolverines’ margin for error is skate-blade thin – they face elimination in Saturday’s Game 2.

The eight goals Anchorage surrendered were the most they have allowed across 68 regular-season and Robertson Cup playoff games this season.

The Brahmas, who topped the 32-team junior circuit with 94 points in the regular season, bolted to a 4-0 lead through one period and built that advantage to 6-0 through 40 minutes. Jacob McDonald, who racked 22 goals in 44 games in the regular season, had his fingertips all over that avalanche of goals with two goals and an assist in the first two periods.

Anchorage responded with goals from Bryce Monrean of Anchorage and Kade Shea 33 seconds apart in the opening 93 seconds of the third period to cut the deficit to 6-2, but Lone Star regrouped and tacked on two goals to bookend the blowout.

That Lone Star proved stingy defensively was not a shocker. The Brahmas permitted a league-low 109 goals across 60 regular-season games. Goaltenders Jack Wieneke (22-4-1, 1.65 goals-against average, .926 save percentage, league-leading eight shutouts) and Deivs Roloivs (22-7-2, 1.83, .919, two bagels) proved formidable.

Wieneke on Friday stopped 34 of Anchorage’s 36 shots.

The Brahmas have allowed just 13 goals in nine playoff games.

Anchorage goaltender Liam Beerman has been outstanding in the regular season and playoffs. Still, he got pierced Friday, surrendering six goals on just 14 shots before he got the hook midway through the second period, when Anchorage trailed 6-0.

The Wolverines have only been in existence for three seasons, but this is the second time they have advanced as far as the league semifinals. Anchorage in its inaugural season of 2021-22 made it all the way to the championship game before falling to the New Jersey Titans.

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