For the second time on the season the Freeze took on an opponent from the West Division. It was a two-game series with the Breezy Point North Stars in Breezy Point, a team they struggled against last year losing three of the four games the two teams faced.
Friday night may have been the 2016-17 season. Although a hard-fought game the Freeze struggled for the first time in over a month. But the real story from Friday night may have been the amount of penalties accrued between both teams: 17 times either team was sent to the box including nine for the Freeze. That proved to be the difference in the 2-4 loss as the North Stars converted two of their power plays into goals.
Clayton Lackey (Thomas Magnavite, Jake Ziegelbein) and Laudon Poellinger (Toon De Schepper, Matthew Francois) were the two that put La Crosse in the box score. Otherwise it was Will Graves fighting off an unusual amount of penalty kills on the night en route to saving 32 of 36 shots.
Saturday was much of the same story, different ending as 19 penalties were enforced between both teams. It’d be the Freeze, however, that would take advantage of the power play opportunities, scoring two off the stick of Poellinger (Lackey, Francois) in the first and Magnavite (De Schepper, Jacob Garman) to tie the game 2-2 in the third. A Breezy Point goal soon after gave them the 3-2 lead but Poellinger (Caleb Beversdorf) tied the game with 5:59 left to play.
No penalties in overtime but there was a hat trick; Poellinger (Magnavite, Francois) scored his third goal of the night to give the Freeze the 4-3 win. Jacob Silverstein got the call in net and saved 26/29 shots to extend his record to 5-1 on the season.
The Freeze will see a familiar opponent on Friday and Saturday night before hosting the Rochester Ice Hawks on Sunday afternoon. La Crosse faces the Wausau RiverWolves for the fifth and sixth time over the course of the last few weeks. Friday night’s game will take place in Wausau before the series comes back for a showdown on Saturday night at the Green Island Ice Arena.