Alexandria Blizzard wraps up a playoff spot with a game to go
After weeks of knowing a spot in the postseason could come down to the final weekend of the season, the Alexandria Blizzard has assured itself of a playoff berth with one game to spare.
The Blizzard (28-17-0-1, 57 points) beat Willmar on the road on Friday night, 4-1, wrapping up the fourth and final spot in the West Division playoffs. The win leaves New Ulm (25-18-0-3, 53 points) on the outside looking in after pushing for that fourth spot much of the season.
The Blizzard led 1-0 after the first period in Willmar, thanks to a Carter Rieland goal at 13:10. Alexandria then blew things open in the second, scoring three goals from Dylan Giorgio, Alexandria junior Caleb Strong and Connor Busse. Giorgio, Ike Taraszewski, Busse, Riley Scanlon, Sam Prisbe and Alexandria native Jack Powell had assists in the game.
Willmar scored its only goal from Marquez Ginger at 6:32 of the third, but it was too little, too late. Ville Hyttinen stood tall in net all night on his way to the win. He stopped 28 shots, while Jake Sumner took the loss with the four goals allowed and 32 saves.
The Blizzard has one more game in the regular season tonight, Saturday, and it will be a playoff preview with Alexandria at Granite City. The Lumberjacks ran away with the top spot in the division with a 37-7-2-0 record. They currently have 76 points. North Iowa is a distant second with 65 points, while Rochester (63 points) is the third team.
Alexandria and Granite City will drop the puck at 7:30 on Saturday night at the Armadillo Deck Sports Arena.