The Freeze began the opening round of the playoffs by traveling to face the Wisconsin Whalers. Goals from JP Eykyn (Briley), Lukas Motloch (2) (Losen) (Dolan, Losen), and Tyler Briley (Toycen, Eykyn) scored for the Freeze through the first two periods. However, a pair of Whaler third period goals lifted them over the Freeze to take the first of the 3-game series 5-4. Will Graves was handed the loss after 30 saves.
The following night the Freeze returned home and fought through the threat of elimination to score three consecutive goals in the second period to take a lead that they ran with until the final buzzer. Donny Schultz (Anderson) (Machusak, Dolan) scored the first two goals to tie the game and Lukas Motloch (Losen, Schultz) put in the game-winning goal. Andrew Wagner buckled down and didn’t give up a single goal through the final 37 minutes of the game to send the series to a third and final game.
Wagner was in net again for the final game on home ice where a defensive battle held most of the game at a stalemate. Sam Dabrowski (Marquardt, Toycen) scored at the beginning of the second period with a power play goal for the first score of the game before a Whalers goal followed within two minutes. The 1-1 tie was finally broken as team captain Danny Toycen (Briley) put a puck past the Wisconsin goalie for the game winning goal in the third period. The 2-1 victory secured a trip to the second round of the playoffs.
Next up for the Freeze are the North Iowa Bulls. The Freeze have one of the 10 regulation loses that were handed to the Bulls and the only shutout against the Bulls who scored 5.7 goals per game through the regular season. The Bulls will host two of the three games on friday and Sunday nights. The Freeze will look to extend their good luck at home with Saturday night’s game 2 coming to Green Island Ice Arena at 7:00.