From the La Crosse Tribune
CLOQUET, Minn. — Coulee Region Chill goalie Adam Carlson was busy.
The Minnesota Wilderness peppered Carlson all night, but the NCAA Division I Mercyhurst College recruit was nearly perfect as he helped give the Chill a 3-1 win and a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series to open the NAHL playoffs.
“He had a game tonight,” Chill coach AJ Degenhardt said. “He’s the backbone of the team. He did a nice job of limiting all the real quality chances.”
The Chill (30-23-9) return home needing just one more win to advance to the second round for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Adam Lovick scored his second goal of the series to cap a two-goal third period that proved to be more than enough for Carlson, who finished with 35 saves.
Lovick, a Division I Bemidji State recruit, also had an assist to give him five points this postseason.
“He’s excited,” Degenhardt said. “This is his last go-around in junior hockey, and at the end of the day your best players have to be your best players.”
Richard Zehnal scored his first goal of the postseason early in the second period to break the scoreless tie. Zehnal, who was third on the team in goals in the regular season, buried a shot less than four minutes into the period to give the Chill an unlikely lead. The Chill were being outshot 15-6 by the Wilderness (39-17-6) when Zehnal found the back of the net.
Minnesota’s Ian Mansfield finally beat Carlson later in the second period, on its 26th shot, to knot the score at 1-1 before the second intermission, but Coulee Region’s Kevin Shand broke the tie midway through the third to put the Chill up for good.
Coulee Region has gone 16-10-4 this season at Green Island Ice Arena.
“We know it’s a five-game series and they’re a team that’s not ever going to quit,” Degenhardt said. “They’re going to come at us hard.”