The Chill knew this was a big weekend, they had to win two out of their next three games to stay ahead of the St. Louis Jr. Blues in the standings to keep the #1 seed and become the Central Division Regular Season Champions. It wasn’t going to be easy, as they started the weekend off with a home-and-home with the Rochester Grizzlies and then were on the road on Sunday to play their final regular season game against the Wisconsin Whalers.
First up, the Chill had their final home game of the regular season against the Rochester Grizzlies. Rochester would be the first to get on the board, making it 1-0 just three minutes into the game. They would follow up with their second goal near the end of the first to make it 2-0. At the first intermission, the Grizzlies would hold the 2-0 lead, and the Chill knew they had some work to do in the next two periods to get ahead of the tough Rochester team. The second period would see another goal from Rochester just past the midway point of the second period to give them the 3-0 lead over the Chill. However, the Chill finally get their mark on the board with a goal from Thomas Magnavite to cut Rochester’s lead to 3-1 (15:58; Brady Lindauer). Less than a minute later, Brady Lindauer would get the Chill’s second goal of the game on the power play with help from Toon De Schepper and Brandon Ratzloff to make it 3-2. In the final minute of the period, Thomas Magnavite would tie it up 3-3 with assists from Brady Lindauer and Brandon Ratzloff and the two teams would remain tied at 3-3 going into the second intermission. The third period began, and just 5 minutes into the third, Rochester gets their 4th goal of the game to make it 4-3. The Chill battled hard with the Grizzlies, pulling goalie Devin Naidow out of the net for the extra attacker with a minute left in the period to try and tie it up again. However, the Grizzlies get ahold of the puck and score on the empty net to make it 5-3 and that would be the final score in the Chill’s home loss. Goalie Devin Naidow stopped 29 out of 33 shots faced during the game. The Chill knew that the next two road games were crucial to win.
The next night, the Chill were on the road to Rochester, MN to play the Grizzlies for the second time and they were hoping to be able to get the needed win. The Chill were the first to get on the board this time, just over 6 minutes into the first period Marco Escobar makes it 1-0 with assists from Gadel Khismatullin and Donny Schultz. The Chill would then make it 2-0 on the power play with a goal from Brandon Ratzloff (12:16; Brady Lindauer, Toon De Schepper) and they would hold that two goal lead going into the first intermission, much like Rochester had done the night before. The second period begins and Rochester is able to cut the Chill’s lead to one just 7 minutes into the second period to make it 2-1. The Chill weren’t about to let the Grizzlies take the lead however, as they make it 3-1 with a goal from Donny Schultz at 12:51 of the second period with help from Gadel Khismatullin. At the 17 minute mark, Sam Dabrowski would make 4-1 (Chase McLaughlin, Toon De Schepper) and then less than a minute later Sam Dabrowski would get his second goal of the game to make it 5-1 with help from Flavien Fondadouze. The Chill would head to the locker room for the second intermission with a comfortable lead over the Grizzlies, a much better place to be then they were the previous night. The third period would see two more Chill goals, one from Thomas Magnavite just 20 seconds into the period on the power play (Brandon Ratzloff) and then a short-handed goal from Toon De Schepper (12:53; Marco Escobar, Donny Schultz) for a final score of 7-1. A huge win for the Chill, now just needing to win their final game on Sunday to keep the #1 seed. Goalie Devin Naidow gets the win in net, stopping an impressive 34 out of 35 total shots on goal.
Sunday, the team was on the road to take on the Wisconsin Whalers in their final regular season home game. The Chill would get on the board first this game with a goal from Keaton Caplis (12:56; Brandon Ratzloff) to make it 1-0. The two would then switch places, a goal from Brandon Ratzloff would make it 2-0 with an assist from Keaton Caplis just three minutes later. The two teams would head to the locker rooms for the first intermission with the Chill holding a 2-0 lead. The Whalers would come out and score early in the second period to make it 2-1, but the Chill would answer back with two more goals late in the period, one from Thomas Magnavite (16:54; Brady Lindauer) and one from Brady Lindauer (18:52; Brandon Ratzloff) to make it 4-1 to round out the second period. The third period would see another early goal from the Whalers to make it 4-2, but the final push from the Chill in the first half of the third would give them three more goals, one from Brandon Ratzloff (4:23; Brady Lindauer), another goal from Brady Lindauer (4:48; Thomas Magnavite, Brandon Ratzloff), and finally the last goal from Aslan Akervik (7:54; Brock Zukowski, Joseph Wiczek) to make the final score 7-2 and gave the Chill the win they needed to secure their #1 seed and become Central Division Regular Season Champions for the first time in program history! Goalie Michael Janke gets the win in net, stopping 23 of the 25 total shots faced.
With the playoff seeds set, the Chill will be starting playoffs against the #4 seed Peoria Mustangs in a best of three series. The first game will take place in Peoria, IL on the Mustangs home ice. Then the Chill will come back home and take Friday off before taking on the Mustangs at Green Island on Saturday night. If a third game is needed, it will be at Green Island on Sunday afternoon.