(Photo: Troy Young)
BLAINE, Minn. – Austin Shaw stopped all 31 shots he faced to claim a shutout win in his first-career start, as the Wichita Falls Wildcats earned a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wilderness on Friday.
Matt Koch and Tommy Apap each scored their first-career regular-season goal, and Mike Reisinger notched his second of the year in the win. Nick Farmer, Alex Falconer, Cam Knight, Austin Beaulieu and Kevin Charyszyn also chipped in with an assist in the win.
The first period played out fairly evenly in terms of shots on goal, but it was the Wildcats who were on the board first, as Koch got them off the mark.
Falconer and Charyszyn combined to work the puck down into the right-wing corner, where Charyszyn slung a beautiful tape-to-tape pass to Koch, who had skated down into the left circle from the point. Koch settled briefly and sent a wicked wrister into the roof of the net to make it 1-0 at the 6:01 mark.
Barely 90 seconds later, Wichita Falls doubled its advantage after some dogged work by Knight to hold the zone.
The defenseman did just enough to push the puck along to Nick Farmer at the top of the crease, who played it to the right post for Apap. The Michigan-native jammed at the loose puck and pushed it under the pad of the Wilderness netminder to make it 2-0. The marker, coming at 7:28 of the frame, was the first of Apap’s career.
Both teams created chances in the second period, but neither goaltender yielded any goals, so the teams entered the third frame with the Wildcats still leading 2-0.
Early in the third, Wichita Falls expanded on its lead thanks to a power play tally by Reisinger.
Knight and Beaulieu played catch between the top of the left circle and the blue line, before Beaulieu walked towards the faceoff dot. Rather than shooting, the forward rifled an inch-perfect pass to Reisinger at the bottom of the right circle, who wired into the back of the net to make it 3-0 on his second tally of the campaign.
The Wilderness tried in vain to find a way past Shaw, but the first-year netminder turned aside everything that was thrown his way to claim the shutout victory.
The Wildcats will conclude their Showcase slate when they take on the Michigan Warriors on Saturday at 9:15 a.m. Video coverage is available on FASTHockey.com, with audio available via YouTube.
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Wichita Falls – Matt Koch (Kevin Charyszyn, Alex Falconer) 6:01
Wichita Falls – Tommy Apap (Nick Farmer) 7:28
Wichita Falls – Max Reisinger (power play) (Austin Beaulieu, Cam Knight) 4:11