Posted: Apr 14, 2012 4:35 PM by Derek Buerkle (KPAX Sports)
MISSOULA- The Missoula Maulers turned in a very special season this winter, but they will be remembered mostly for how they finish it this Spring.
The Missoula junior hockey club has a chance to claim its first league championship and now they need to win a best-of-seven series over their biggest rivals, and the defending national champs from Helena.
The Bighorns knocked the Maulers out of the playoffs a year ago and these two each won five times in ten matchups this season.
The Bighorns struck first in game one at Glacier Ice Rink Friday when Hagen Nemzek scored 13 minutes into the first period. The Maulers answered back just 40 seconds later with Dunk Abbott scoring from the blue line.
Then in the final seconds of the first the puck got loose behind the net and Nemzek knocked in another to put Helena up 2-1. They scored again to make it 3-1 and late in the second period Ben Henne knocked in the rebound for a power play goal.
The Bighorns took a 4-1 lead into the final period and they won by that score. The Maulers dug themselves an early hole in the series and now head to Helena for game two on Saturday night.