The La Crosse Freeze came into last weekend sitting in second place in the Central division, well above the Rochester Ice Hawks. Standings, however, doesn't matter once the puck drops.
The Freeze opened up the series at the Green Island Ice Arena in La Crosse, WI facing the Ice Hawks for the first time this season. The Ice Hawks – new to the NA3HL – came in looking to earn respect across the league. Both teams got off to a slow start in the first period in Friday nights game and it wasn't until midway through the second that the first goal was scored. Trey McMillan scored first for Rochester off of assists from Andrew Gates and Spencer Hadacek but the Freeze answered quickly with a short-handed goal of their own. Forward Mick Nisbet scored during a Rochester power play off of assists from Ben Henderson and newly-acquired Toby Sengvongxay. It would be a tie game until early in the third when Rochester forward Evan Sabo scored and would ultimately be the final goal of the game as the Freeze fell 1-2 at home for the first time this year. Garrett Matz was in net for the Freeze and saved 17/19 shots.
Saturday night was a different story for coaches Ryan Egan and Alex North as their players jumped on Rochester in their own arena to an early 4-1 lead heading into the second period. Nisbet, Cameron Pries, Henderson and Joe Guimont all scored throughout the first period (three off power plays), and Sengvongxay put the final tally on the board with only seconds left to play in the second to give the Freeze a 5-2 victory. Andrew Wagner played well between the pipes, stopping 28 of 30 shots for his seventh win of the season.
The Freeze look to play the Central division leading North Iowa Bulls away Friday night but will return to the Green Island Ice Arena Sunday in a matchup against the Wisconsin Whalers.