The 2021 NAHL Showcase is in the books. All 29 teams met at the Super Rink in Blaine for the annual showcase which attracts scouts from the NHL, NCAA Hockey and more. At the end of a four-day grind, Minnesota Magicians have a record of 4-2-0-0 after winning three of four games at the event.
Minnesota opened play in Blaine on September 15 with a matchup with the defending Robertson Cup champion Shreveport Mudbugs. After giving up an early goal the Magicians responded with goals from Nicholas Babbie and Cam Boche to lead the game at intermission.
A powerplay tally by the Mudbugs evened things in the second before Trevor Kukkonen netted the game winner at 6:19 of the third. Brandon Milberg stopped 26 of 28 shots faced to win his debut in a Magicians jersey. Milberg is a Sacred Heart University commit.
Gavin Best and William Svenddal each had two assists in the 3-2 victory.
Day 2 had the Magicians facing another NAHL South powerhouse in the Lone Star Brahmas who have finished in the top two of their division in each of the past seven seasons.
Similar to their game the previous day, the Magicians gave up the first goal only to respond in the second with a pair of their own. Will Schumacher and Lucas Kanta matched the pair scored by Artur Turansky to see the game even 2-2 after two periods. This time the men in black were unable to get the “W” though as Jack Collins scored the winner for Lone Star at 7:51 of the final period.
In their Friday game the Magicians faced the Northeast Generals for the first time and earned a 5-4 win.
After spotting the Generals a 2-0 lead, Babbie got the home team on the board in the final minute of the opening period.
A Northeast Generals powerplay goal restored the two-goal advantage at 3:08 of the second before the Magicians offense caught fire. The team scored four straight to take a 5-2 lead early in the third. Colin Tushie, Patrick Czarnecki each scored their first of the season before Hunter Longhi netted a pair. The second – and eventual game winner – coming at 1:18 of the third. Sam Jacobs assisted on two of the goals that helped propel the team to victory.
Rookie goaltender Michael Bashaw earned the victory in his first career NAHL start. A product of the Green Bay Jr. Gamblers program, 17-year old Bashaw stopped 14 of 18 shots.
The final day of the showcase had the Magicians matched up with in-state rival Austin Bruins. Due to the teams being in different divisions the Magicians do not regularly play their two closest geographical NAHL foes (Austin and St. Cloud).
Minnesota struck first in this one when Kukkonen scored on a play started by Boche and Babbie who dropped a pass on the stick of Kukkonen for a screaming slap shot just inside the blue line.
Austin outplayed the Magicians in the second, scoring a pair to take a 2-1 advantage. Shots in the period were 13-3 in favor of the Bruins.
The Magicians responded in the third with great effort and a few big saves by Sami Molu. Outshooting their opponent 13-7, Minnesota finally found a second goal when Spencer Light snapped off a wrist shot that beat the Bruins goaltender with just :35 to go in regulation.
After nearly five minutes of the three-on-three overtime Minnesota found a game winner when Kanta slammed home a loose puck at 4:40. Sam Jacobs and Svenndal assisted on the OT winner. Molu made 35 saves in his third start of the season improving his record to 2-1.
#NAHLShowcase Final Score: @MNMagiciansNAHL (3) vs. @theaustinbruins (2) (OT) pic.twitter.com/vlfFaurMCz
— NAHL (@NAHLHockey) September 19, 2021
Next up for the Magicians is a two-game home series beginning on Friday against the Anchorage Wolverines (2-1-0-1). Game time for both games is scheduled for 7:00 PM at Richfield Ice Arena.