The Minnesota Magicians (7-2-2) scored big over the weekend, winning three games in three days to claim sole possession of first place in the Midwest Division of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The Magicians started the week with two closely contested victories over the Janesville Jets (7-2-1) before putting a beat down on the Cloquet Wilderness (4-5-0) in the weekend finale at Richfield Ice Arena. This week’s slate is a comparatively light schedule, with the Magicians playing only one game vs. the Coulee Region Chill on Friday night. That game will start at 7:15 PM at Richfield Ice Arena.
In a rare Thursday night game, the Magicians faced off against one of the league’s best teams in the Janesville Jets. The only scoring of regulation time came in the second period when both teams traded goals. The Magicians hit the board first with Hopkins native Nathan Nelsen finding the back of the net on a goal assisted by Hunter Lellig and Davis Kirkendall before Janesville was able to answer a short time later. When three periods was not enough to decide a winner, a tense 3-on-3 overtime ensued with still no victor. In the shootout, the Magicians were aided by goals from Tanner Tweten, Travis Brown, and Jake Cass while goaltender Jacob Dittmer only allowed two Janesville goals to preserve a hard fought win for the Magicians.
On Friday night, the flood gates opened up for both teams as a high scoring game developed from the start. Janesville started the scoring less than 10-minutes into the first period, but Magicians forward Timo Walther (Travis Brown, Cam Buhl) scored to even the game at 1-1. The Jets answered with one more goal in the first and an early second period goal to jump to a 3-1 lead before Tommy Altounian scored for the Magicians to make it 3-2. The Magicians then tied the game when Jake Cass scored a goal assisted by Altounian and Nathan Nelsen to knot the game up once again. In the final period, Janesville took another brief lead before Magicians defenseman Travis Brown scored two times to lift the team to another closely contested win.
On Saturday night, a new foe in the Cloquet Wilderness arrived at Richfield Ice Arena. In this one, the Magicians controlled from the outset and cruised to a much less stressful win. Tanner Tweten (Mitch Slattery) opened the scoring for the Magicians late in the first period, and the game was never in doubt from that point onward. In the second period, Nikita Kozyrev (Mitch Slattery, Will Hammer) followed up Tweten’s first period goal to make it 2-0, and then Tweten scored yet again to make it 3-0. A goal from the Wilderness cut the Magicians lead slightly, but an empty net goal from Brendan Skarda late in the game put the icing on a 4-1 win.
The three game hot streak propelled the Magicians into first place in the Midwest Division, ahead of the Janesville Jets and the defending Robertson Cup Champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs. This week, the Magicians only play one game, a home matchup with the Coulee Region Chill on Friday at 7:15 PM at Richfield Ice Arena.