After clawing their way up to a winning record just before the holiday break, the Minnesota Magicians (13-14-4) fell victim to a hot Springfield Jr. Blues team last weekend and were swept on home ice. The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Magicians this week, with two games against the Cloquet Wilderness (19-10-3) on the docket.
The Magicians returned from the holiday break with confidence after consistent play over the previous month had earned them a winning record for the first time since September. Springfield, who currently resides in 2nd place in the Midwest Division, also came into the weekend playing well, thanks in large part to the play of goaltender and Ohio State commit, Tommy Nappier.
On Friday, the game remained scoreless for much of the first period before Springfield was finally able to break the deadlock on a goal with just over a minute to go. From that point on the Jr. Blues took control and never looked back, scoring 3 second period goals and adding 2 more in the third. The Magicians on the other hand, could not solve Nappier who stopped all 23 shots he faced in the game. The end result was a lopsided 6-0 loss for the Magic on home ice.
In a rare Sunday game at Richfield Ice Arena, the Magicians looked to improve upon their lackluster showing the previous night. Springfield started the scoring once again in the first period to take a lead at the halfway mark of the frame. A short time later, the Magicians were able to answer on a goal by Jack Christensen (Assists: Brady Heppner, Travis Brown). The Jr. Blues answered with another goal themselves and the first period ended with the Magicians trailing 2-1.
After a scoreless second period, the teams braced themselves for a tight final 20-minutes. Springfield capitalized on a turnover early in the third to increase their lead to 3-1 before buckling down defensively. Throughout most of the third, the Magicians controlled the play, yet again they were unable to solve Nappier. Finally, with just under two minutes to go and an extra attacker on the ice, Casey Jerry was able to find the back of the net on a goal assisted by Pierce Crawford and Travis Brown to cut the Springfield lead to one. Just over a minute later, the Jr. Blues squashed any hope of a Magicians comeback with an empty net goal, and the game ended at a final score of 4-2. Magicians goaltender Will Ulrich stopped 26 of 29 shots in taking the loss.
Up next for the Magicians is a home game on Friday January 8th, as the Cloquet Wilderness come to town for a 7:15 PM contest. The Magicians will then travel to Cloquet for a rematch the following night.
The Magicians recently completed a trade with the Coulee Region Chill to acquire forward Michael Wilson, a West Point commit. Wilson had 10 goals and 11 assists in 27 games with the Chill before being acquired by the Magicians.
Central Division Standings
Goals: Casey Jerry (10)
Assists: C. Jerry, J. Panvica (14)
Points: Casey Jerry (25)
+/-: Travis Brown (pictured) (+5)
Wins: Will Ulrich (10)
SV%: Will Ulrich (.917)
GAA: Will Ulrich (2.79)