The Minnesota Magicians have been traveling in Alaska for the past two weeks for away series against both of the NAHL’s Alaskan teams, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs and the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Magicians hit the road early on the morning of October 9th as they flew out of the Minneapolis International Airport at 7am for Alaska. Their first stop on Alaskan soil was Fairbanks, where they would be staying and practicing in preparation to play the Ice Dogs. After a travel day and one day of practice the Magi laced up on Friday night in front of a packed house at the Big Dipper Arena for the Ice Dogs home opening weekend. The Magicians had one goal in regulation during Friday’s game scored by Josh Bohlin in the second period which happened to be enough for them to take the Ice Dogs into overtime. After 5 minutes of 3-on-3 overtime the score was still tied 1-1, bringing the game to a shootout. Marko Reifenberger scored on the first shot of the shootout for the Magicians, but his goal was quickly countered by one from an Ice Dogs player. An impressive 11 more shootout rounds passed before T.J. Sagissor buried a shot to give the Magicians the win over Fairbanks. Game 2 in Fairbanks didn’t produce the results the Magicians desired as they ended up losing 4-1 in regulation after tallying only one goal in the 2nd period from Reifenberger.
After finishing up their weekend in Fairbanks 1-1 and claiming 2 of 4 points, the Magicians took a little time to recover and explore the Alaksan way of life. The players and coaches got to spend some time meeting puppies on a farm, bathing in hot springs, and taking in the beautiful views and sceneries of the Alaskan wilderness. Following their nice day off, the Magi packed up and headed for Kenai River, Alaska, where they would be finishing their trip with a 2 game series versus the Brown Bears. The Magicians again found themselves in a shootout in the first game of the series after a 0-0 game through regulation and 3-on-3 overtime. Wes Mankowski ended up earning his first NAHL shutout after stopping every shot in regulation, OT and the shootout! Reifenberger and Sagissor each ended up burying spectacular shootout goals to help finish the win for the Magi yet again.
The Magicians couldn’t seem to stay away from extra hockey as they ended up going into overtime again in the final game of their away trip after being tied 1-1 through regulation. A goal from the Brown Bears just over 2 minutes into overtime secured the win for Kenai River, splitting the series at 1-1. Although the Magicians went 2-2 on the trip, they still managed to sneak away with 5 of 8 pts due to their overtime loss in their final game. After a tough start to the season, the Magicians Alaskan voyage was a great way for the team to spend some time away from the rink with each other and bond together. Although the Magi went 2-2 on the trip, Coaches A.J. Bucchino and Gaven Bickford are happy to be seeing progress and development from not only the players, but the team’s culture as a whole. Coaches Bucchino and Bickford look to use the trip as a learning tool for their players as the trip involved lots of aspects that the players will be experiencing later in college and pro hockey situations with long travel and away stands. Not only is the trip a great hockey experience, but a great life experience that all of the players will carry with them and enjoy forever. The Magi are back on Minnesotan soil for a few days this week to practice before they hit the road again and travel to Springfield, IL, where they will face the Springfield Junior Blues in a 2 game away stand on October 25th and 26th.
Broadcasting of all Magicians away games can be found at www.hockeytv.com, *fees apply.