Hockey

Anchorage Wolverines strike late again for another playoff win, take 2-0 series lead over Springfield

For the second straight night, the Anchorage Wolverines and the Springfield Jr. Blues battled into the third period tied 1-1. And for the second straight night the Wolverines struck in the third to take a victory.

The Wolverines’ 2-1 win over Springfield on Friday at the Nelson Center gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 Robertson Cup playoff series.

Thursday it was Hunter Schmitz netting the go-ahead goal which led to the 2-1 road victory.

Friday it was Colton Friesen giving the Wolverines the deciding goal in the third period. Kory Diponio added the assist to put Anchorage up 2-1 at the 8:10 mark of the third.

Head coach Mike Aikens said the two wins are a sign the team is learning how to win close games late in their inaugural season.

“There’s a process to learn how to win,” he said. “Making good decisions with the puck and knowing when you can make plays and can’t. Especially when we got a lead we didn’t give up much. Even the players on the bench were talking about the right things. It’s total buy-in for everyone on the team.”

Hunter Bischoff started off the scoring in the first period for Anchorage, with assists from Talon Sigurdson and Aiden Westin.

The Jr. Blues struck back at 19:21 of the second period, getting a power-play goal as their only tally for the second straight evening. Cole Dubicki notched the goal with assists from Mac Gadowsky and Leo Bacallao.

The Wolverines were credited with 61 shots on goal for the game.

Even though Aikens thought that number might be slightly inflated, he said the team was very aggressive with the puck.

“That seems a little bit high but we were shooting the puck a lot,” he said. “Realistically 50 was maybe more the range. We were creating enough chances to win. I felt we were in control of the game.”

Raythan Robbins made 34 saves to earn the win.

The Wolverines now have a chance to complete the series sweep with a victory Sunday.

But first, Aikens said the team is taking a well-deserved break Saturday.

“We’ve got (Saturday) off,” he said. “We’re going to enjoy (Saturday) and have a couple good meals and we have a little bowling expedition in mind to get our minds off hockey and then we’ll start to think about Sunday. There won’t be any revolutionary changes to what we are doing.”

The two teams will play Game 3 on Sunday at 4:05 AST at the Nelson Center in Springfield, Illinois.

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