Mullets End Regular Season with 8-2 Win over Havoc, Gear Up for Playoffs Series against RiverKings
By: Dan Bradley
FOREST LAKE, MN -- An all-too-familiar tension filled the air Saturday afternoon at Lichtscheidl Arena. The Minnesota Mullets were looking for answers after going 2-5-0 over their last seven games, trying to right the ship before the playoffs. In the opposing dressing room, the Hudson Havoc, having overcome a three-goal deficit the night before against the Mullets to win 4-3, were poised to cap off their Cinderella season with a division crown, needing a single point to capture the Midwest West Division Title. With playoffs just around the corner, everything was on the line.
Evan Mitchell started the scoring for the Havoc with his 12th Goal of the season just 13 seconds into regulation. Just 46 seconds later, Tyler Perkins answered for the Mullies, tying the game at one with his 17th goal of the year, and the race was on. Both teams buzzed through the first period, and the Mullets took a 4-2 lead into the locker room, following goals from Tyler Morrison (16), Tyler Kulas (17), and Nate Holm (25).
From then on, it was all Mullets. Morgan Sweeney (9) and Tyler Perkins (18) added goals in the second, with Sweeney (10) and Holm (26) each adding their second goal of the game in the third. When all was said and done, the Mullets emerged victorious, beating the Havoc 8-2. 16 players between the two teams recorded a point, including Mullets goaltender Jack Bostedt, who added an assist to his 36 save performance. As the Mullets saluted the crowd and skated off their home ice for what may have been the last time this season, the team raced through post-game traditions to celebrate with their families, many of whom were in attendance.
There's always an extra energy around the rink this time of year. As soon as the final horn sounds, players and fans alike scramble to look at the latest standings across the league. Few divisions throughout all junior hockey have seen as much turnover in the division standings as the USPHL Midwest West Division, with all nine teams jockeying for position throughout the season. Even though most teams have finished their regular season schedule, there are still games to be played that will have a major impact on the final playoff standings. The Rum River Mallards will play on Wednesday, February 20th at home against the Kasson Vipers. A win, overtime loss, or shootout loss would secure a #4 seed in the division for the Mallards and home ice for a playoff series with the Minnesota Blue Ox. If the Mallards don’t get at least one point, the Blue Ox would host the playoff series in Coon Rapids.
With Saturday’s win, the Mullets ended the Havoc’s hopes of securing a #1 seed in the Midwest West Division and locking down the home-ice advantage for the playoffs. Instead, the Minnesota Moose finished 1st in the Division following their 10-1 win over the Kasson Vipers. The Havoc and Moose finished with 64 points, however the Moose held tiebreakers to claim the top spot and their second consecutive Division Title.
Through the highs of dramatic victories and the lows of a crushing defeat, 44 regular season games have come and gone, and it’s time to put the peaks and valleys of the past six months in the rearview mirror.
The Playoffs are here.
Next on the schedule for the Mullets, who finished 6th in the Division Standings, is a best of three series on the road to take on the #3 seed Wisconsin Rapids RiverKings. The Mullies won three of their four regular season meetings against the RiverKings, including a 4-0 shutout in Wisconsin Rapids, the only home loss the RiverKings have seen all season. Games will be broadcast live on HockeyTV. You can also keep up with the Mullets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.