Coulee Region Chill 2, Minnesota Wilderness 3
The Coulee Region Chill got their weekend kicked off Friday night against the Minnesota Wilderness, looking to make it six-straight victories against the defending Robertson Cup Champions.
Cole Koepke got things started for the Wilderness early in the first period, and Minnesota took a 1-0 lead into the second. Caleb Schroer scored (Steven Quagliata, Phil Erickson assisted) his 11th goal of the season to give the Chill the tie at the 7:26 mark in the middle frame. Holmen, WI native Justin Kendall (Larry Jungwirth) gave the Chill a 2-1 lead but it only lasted for 61 seconds as Brett Heikkila tied the game back up at two.
The third period remained deadlocked at two until Heikkila put the Wilderness back on top with 5:18 left to go. With just 56 seconds remaining the Chill tried to tie the game by pulling goalie Hunter Vorva and attacking with six men but they’d be unsuccessful.
Vorva would take the loss for the Chill, saving just 21/24 shots on the night. Chase Munroe would be the winning goalie after facing just 18 shots, saving 16.
Coulee Region Chill 4, Minnesota Wilderness 3 (OT)
After losing the night before, the Chill would be in desperation mode to keep up in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Midwest Division.
Dom Florian (Isaac Theisen, Nico Luka) took matters into his own hands just over four minutes into the game to put the Chill on the board 1-0. Aaron Miller responded for the Wilderness with 42 seconds remaining as both teams headed into the middle frame tied at one.
Florian (Joey Sofo, Quagliata) put the Chill back up by one but for the second consecutive night the Chills’ 2-1 lead didn’t last more than two minutes as Tyler Vold tied the game back up at two. Alex Falconer (Davis Zembergs, Matt Doran) would ultimately give the Chill a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
The final frame was quiet on the scoreboard with the exception of Cole Koepke tieing the game up at three. Most of the action happened with just over two minutes remaining as Aaron Miller and Isaac Theisen tangled with Miller being the instigator and receiving three game misconducts and fighting major. Alex Lambacher also received a fighting major from the altercation.
That’s as far as either team would come to winning the game, and for the second-consecutive weekend the Chill and Wilderness would be forced to play an overtime period to determine a winner. The week before it was Florian converting in OT but this time it was rookie Kendall’s opportunity to give the Chill the win, scoring with 2:42 remaining via assists from Sofo and Florian.
With Matiss Kivlenieks still nursing an injury from two weeks prior it was Vorva in net once again and he didn’t disappoint, saving 35/38 shots en route to his 16th win on the season. The Wilderness chose to go with Luke Kania in net opposed to Munroe; Kania saved just 15/19 shots on the night.
It’s the final weekend of the 2015-16 NAHL regular season and the Chill have three games to play. Down just a single point in the chase for their playoff hopes they’ll need one win to surpass the Springfield Jr. Blues. It all starts on Friday night in Janesville against the Janesville Jets before returning to Green Island for their final regular season home game Saturday night, puck dropping at 7pm. Sunday it’s another road trip to Cloquet to end the regular season against the Wilderness.
Forward Dom Florain was named an honorable mention after the Coulee Region Chill split their weekend series against the Minnesota Wilderness this past weekend.
Florian, native of Vlasim, CZE, was quiet in Friday nights 2-3 loss but stepped up in a big way in Saturday nights rematch against the defending Robertson Cup Champions. In the 4-3 OT win Saturday night, Florian was the first to score just 4:20 into the first period and again 8:17 into the second to give the Chill the 2-1 lead. He ended the night assisting on forward Justin Kendall's OT game-winning goal 2:42 into the extra frame.
Florian and the Chill need as much momentum as possible heading into this weekend; the Chill need just one point to surpass the Springfield Jr. Blues for a spot in the playoffs as the fourth and final seed in the Midwest Division. They'll have their opporunity Friday night at Janesville against the Janesville Jets, Saturday night against the Jets in La Crosse, and Sunday back in Cloquet against the Wilderness.
Coulee Region Chill 6, Minnesota Wilderness 3
The first two periods of Thursday night’s contest in La Crosse was back and forth between the two Midwest Division rivals. Alex Falconer (Nico Luka, Joey Sofo assisted) was the only one to convert on a shot in the 1st as the Chill took a 1-0 lead into the 2nd.
If you go by just the shots you’d say the Wilderness dominated the 2nd period and you’d be right. The defending Robertson Cup Champions outshot the Chill 21-6 but only converted on two of those shots, one from Ryan Bloom and another from Brett Heikkila. The Chill, however, took advantage of their six shots scoring twice as well once from Dom Florian (Sofo, Luka) and another from Sofo (Davis Zembergs, Luka). With :32 seconds remaining in the period Aaron Miller had a chance for a penalty shot after a Matt Doran hooking penalty but was unsuccessful.
The 3rd period got started off with a Phil Erickson goal (Caleb Schroer, Shane Kuzmeski) just over six minutes in. Now down 2-4 Casey Gilling brought the Wilderness back within one goal but that’d be as close as they’d get all night. Larry Jungwirth (Sofo, Kevin Dineen) dangled his way past Minnesota goalie Luke Kania to go up 5-3 and Florian (Luka) added an empty netter with 3:10 remaining to bring the final score to 6-3.
With goalie Matiss Kivlenieks nursing an injury from last weekends loss at Janesville, Hunter Vorva got the call in net saving 36/39 shots on the night. Kania took the loss for the Wilderness after saving just 23/28 shots.
Coulee Region Chill 2, Minnesota Wilderness 1 (OT)
Friday nights game had a different tune to it all around. After scoring nine goals and only committing four penalties between the two teams the night before only three goals were scored and seven total penalties were committed in game two of the weekend series.
Bloom kicked things off for the Wilderness for the 2nd night in a row just four minutes into the first period. There’d be no scoring action again until the 3rd when Schroer (Florian, Luka) tied it back up at one. Although no goals were scored – forcing overtime – the Wilderness’ Heikkila committed a boarding penalty :27 seconds remaining in the period, giving the Chill the man advantage at the start of OT. Florian (Luka, Kuzmeski) utilized the extra space on the ice and fired a shot into the back of net, and the Chill completed the sweep and extended their winning streak against the Wilderness to five games.
Vorva was once again in the net for the Chill and after saving 36 shots the night before he faced just 24 – saving 23 – on Friday night. Chase Munroe was in net for Minnesota and played much better than his counterpart saving 33/35 shots on the night.
Coulee Region Chill 2, Minnesota Magicians 5
After the two games against the Wilderness in La Crosse the Chill would travel to Richfield, MN to face the Minnesota Magicians in the 3rd and final game of the weekend.
Pierce Crawford got the Magicians on the board early in the 1st but Nico Luka (Justin Kendall, Dineen) continued his strong weekend and scored on a power play with under seven minutes remaining in the period. The 2nd period had the same routine, Magicians scoring first off of a Tyler Bump shot and Florian (Schroer, Steven Quagliata) tying it back up before the start of the 3rd.
The final frame would be the one to break the penguins back so-to-speak. After playing two games the previous two days – including overtime – the Chill failed to stop the Magician’s attack and let in three goals over the course of nine minutes.
Vorva struggled for the first time all weekend, saving 24/29 shots. Will Ulrich was in net for the Magicians and he saved 23/25 shots on the night.
The Chill travel to Cloquet, MN this weekend for the final time in the regular season to take on the Wilderness. Now only one point behind the Springfield Jr. Blues for the final playoff spot the Chill have a big task ahead of them with only five more games left to play.
Puck drops at 7:30pm Friday and Saturday. You can catch all the live action on www.fasthockey.com.
Defenseman Nico Luka was named 1st Star of the Week in the Midwest Division by the NAHL. Forward Dom Florian was named an honorable mention.
Luka's big weekends started Thursday night in the first-of-two games against the Minnesota Wilderness. In the 6-3 victory he contributed four assists to the cause. On Friday night the Bartlett, IL native he assisted on both Chill goals including the OT game winner that gave the Chill the sweep over the Wilderness and made it five-straight wins over the defending Robertson Cup Champions. On Saturday night against the Minnesota Magicians Luka scored his 7th goal of the season in the 2-5 loss. Now with 7 goals and 27 assists Luka is ranked first on the team in assists and 3rd in total points.
Florian, native of Vlasim, CZE, continues his strong campaign in his second season with Coulee Region. Over the course of the weekend he scored four goals and one assist, no goals as big as the one he scored Friday night. On a power play early in overtime against the Wilderness he powered past a laser shot giving the Chill the victory. He now has 24 goals and 19 assists on the season, leading the team in goals and points (43).
Former Coulee Region Chill goalie Adam Carlson has signed a 2-year, entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals of the NHL.
It was a long-road traveled for the Edina, MN native; after being cut from his high school hockey team, tier-3 hockey with the Steele County Blades of the MnJHL, tier-2 hockey with the Coulee Region Chill and most recently a goalie with Mercyhurst University, Carlson defied all odds and is more proof that the ladder through junior hockey is effective.
Carlson spent two years playing with the Chill, making 77 starts (81 games played) and finishing with a 38-27-3 record, a 2.52 GAA and a .926 save percentage. The 2014-15 season was his best as he went 25-12-3 with a 2.44 GAA and .930 save percentage.
This past season he competed with the Mercyhurst Lakers. Due to signing a pro contract he loses his remaining three years of college eligibility thus ending his collegiate career with a 2.85 GAA and .919 save percentage.
Carlson will be ending this season with the Capitals' AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
Goalie Matiss Kivlenieks was named a honorable mention by the NAHL after a strong outing this past weekend against the Janesville Jets.
Kivlenieks, native of Riga, Latvia, was 1-1 on the weekend against the 3rd-place Jets after saving 59/62 shots over the course of both games. In Friday nights contest he saved 28/29 shots en route to the 3-1 victory before saving 32/34 in Saturday nights 1-2 loss, a game in Janesville in which his offense produced only 14 shots on goal.
Since the new year turned Kivlenieks has been bombarded with multiple honors including Goalie of the Month of February, amongst many more. He's compiled a 15-9-1 record with a .927 save percentage and 2.36 GAA in his first season with the Chill.
Coming into the weekend the Chill saw themselves in a five-point deficit behind the Springfield Jr. Blues for 4th spot in the Midwest Division standings. Their weekend series against the 3rd-place Janesville Jets would prove to be crucial down the stretch as they chased a playoff berth in the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs.
Coulee Region Chill 3, Janesville Jets 1
On Friday night in La Crosse the Chill got off to a fast start with a quick goal from forward Dominik Florian (Alex Lambacher assisted) just 2:04 into the 1st period. That lead wouldn’t last long however as Janesville took advantage of their first power play attempt of the night after a Caleb Schroer hooking call and scored at the 8:50 mark.
Coulee Region rebounded in the 2nd period with a power-play goal of their own courtesy of Joey Sofo (Nico Luka) to give them a 2-1 lead. That’d last until nine seconds remaining in the contest when Larry Jungwirth (Justin Kendall, Kevin Dineen) scored an empty netter to seal the win.
Matiss Kivlenieks scored the win for the Chill, saving 27/28 shots. Blake Weyrick of Janesville was peppered with Chill shots all night facing 41 total en route to a loss.
Coulee Region Chill 1, Janesville Jets 2
Saturday night’s matchup in Janesville was another quiet contest as the 1-2 final score indicates. Former Chill forward Dawson DiPietro gave the Jets a 1-0 lead in the 1st period and it stayed that way until Adam Winborg scored on a powerplay to give the Jets the 2-0 lead halfway through the 3rd.
The Chill finally broke the scoreless game over 14 minutes into the period when Florian scored short handed thanks to helpers from Sofo and Matt Doran.
Kivlenieks had a great night in between the pipes, saving 32/34 shots but our offense was only able to put up 14 shots on Jets goalie Weyrick.
The Chill are back in action in La Crosse this weekend for a two-game series against the Minnesota Wilderness. Games are taking place on Thursday and Friday night at 7pm at the Green Island Ice Arena!
Coulee Region Chill 5, Kenai River Brown Bears 4
With how the first game of the two-game series started some may say the Chill – winners of their previous three games – came into last weekends series against the last place Kenai River Brown Bears looking ahead to this weekends games against the Janesville Jets and Fairbanks Ice Dogs.
The Chill scored first after first-year player Scott Corbett put the puck in the back of the net with a dish from Matt Doran but the Brown Bears weren’t intimidated by the surging Coulee Region. Joey Sardina of Kenai River quickly tied the game back at one but Dom Florian (Nico Luka, Isaac Theisen assisted) caught the Brown Bears sleeping and scored short handed before the end of the first.
The Chill went up 3-1 at the start of the 2nd with a goal from Phil Erickson (Shane Kuzmeski, Jackson Charlesworth) but Kenai River tied the game back up 3-3 before the end of the 2nd with goals from Cory Dennis and Gunnar Goodmanson.
The 3rd period saw both Coulee Region and Kenai River score on power plays, first from Florian with the Chill and then Jordan Hank with the Brown Bears. The score was 4-4 heading into the last minute of regulation when forward Kevin Dineen drew a penalty and had a chance at a penalty shot with just :15 seconds left. Magnus Lindhe was up to the task, however, and stonewalled Dineen’s shot and the two teams went into overtime.
Head coach AJ Degenhardt has had the Chill prepared for overtimes all season, entering last Friday nights game 8-0 in extra 3-on-3 hockey. Like he’s done all year he rolled three defenseman to start and the Brown Bears failed to execute on defense as Kuzmeski found Luka across in the slot and the Chill won the game 5-4 and improved to 9-0 in overtime/shoot-outs.
Matiss Kivlenieks, fresh off of being named NAHL Goalie of the Month for the month of February, got the win in net and improved to 13-8 on the season as he stopped 24/28 goals. Lindhe took the loss for Kenai River.
Coulee Region Chill 6, Kenai River Brown Bears 1
Saturday night was a different story. The Chill came out firing with four goals in the first from Alex Lambacher (Corbett, Kuzmeski), Larry Jungwirth (Dineen, Charlesworth), Erickson (Florian, Doran), and Justin Kendall (Jungwirth, Dineen).
Kenai River scored on a short-handed goal in the 2nd but that’s all the scoring that’d occur for the Brown Bears. With only four team shots in the 3rd, the Chill converted on two of them with goals from Erickson (Corbett) and Joey Sofo (Alex Falconer, Davis Zembergs).
Hunter Vorva got the call Saturday night saving 33/34 shots on the night. Nast started the game for Kenai River and played 48:33 but Lindhe would take the loss in only 11:27 of playing time.
The Chill are back in action in La Crosse this weekend for three games starting Thursday night against the Janesville Jets and then for a series against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. All games start at 7pm.
It's safe to say Larry Jungwirth found his groove in a Coulee Region Chill uniform during the month of February.
Jungwirth, native of Bloomington, MN, was part of a four-player trade at the end of December that sent forward Michael Wilson to the Minnesota Magicians in exchange for himself and fellow forwards Alex Lambacher and Kevin Dineen. After appearing in his first game in a Chill uniform on New Years Eve against the Austin Bruins – scoring one assist – and on January 2nd against Janesville he took a few weeks off to nurse an injury.
Once February rolled around Jungwirth was ready to go, scoring two goals – not including the game winner in a shootout – against his former team on the 5th. He went on to score in five more consecutive games compiling four goals and five assists across the six-game scoring streak. Jungwirth then capped off the month with two assists against the Minnesota Wilderness as the Chill defeated the defending Robertson Cup Champions three games out of four to end the month.
He and the rest of the Chill have their sights set to make the Robertson Cup Playoffs after a slow start to the season. Since coming to the organization at the end of December, the Chill are 10-2 in which games Jungwirth has played, and he's scored in eight of those contests; the Chill as a team are 15-4 since the Christmas break.
As the standings sit today the Chill are just six points back from the Springfield Jr. Blues for the 4th and final spot in the Midwest Divisional playoff race with three games in hand. They look for the weekend sweep and another two points against the Kenai River Brown Bears tonight at 7pm.
It was a great month of February for the Coulee Region Chill. For Chill goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, February was the best month of hockey he's played all season and was rewarded by being named the NAHL Goalie of the Month.
Entering February, Kivlenieks, a 6'2", 190lb native of Riga, Latvia, was sitting a game under .500 at 7-8. Fast forward a month and he's helped revive the Chill's 2015-16 campaign and is now sitting at 12-8 with a 2.98 GAA (goals against average) and his .926 save percentage has him ranked 4th among all NAHL goalies.
In the month of February he went 5-0 with a 1.8 GAA and .948 save percentage. He kicked off the month with wins against the Austin Bruins on the 6th and 13th and held Midwest divisonal rival – the Minnesota Wilderness – to just four goals on 122 total shots. On the 20th he held his own as he bested the defending Robertson Cup Champions to just one goal in a shoot-out to keep the Chill undefeated (now 8-0 in overtime and shootouts) in extra hockey and to give the Chill the 2-1 weekend series.
Sitting just eight points behind the Springfield Jr. Blues for 4th place in the Midwest division, Kivlenieks and the Chill are gearing up for a push to make the Robertson Cup Playoffs after a slow start. With just 15 regular season games remaining there's still time to clinch a playoff berth and it all begins this weekend when the Kenai River Brown Bears come to town.