BLAINE, Minn. – Brendan Williams scored a hat trick, with all three goals set up by William Lawson-Body, and Daniel Duris stopped 26 straight shots to power the Oklahoma Warriors to a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wilderness and earn a spot in the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship Game Tuesday at the Fogerty Ice Arena.
Duris emerged as a factor early, stopping a breakaway chance one minute into the game. With Minnesota’s season on the line, a Wilderness stole a puck at his own blueline and skated in alone on Duris, tried to make a cut five-hole, and was denied by the Slovakian netminder. Duris made another strong sequence of saves a few minutes later when the Wilderness couldn’t capitalize on sustained zone pressure. With 5:29 left in the period, Oklahoma would score the 1-0 goal. Duris made a pad-stuff save and the puck came out through neutral ice on the stick of Lawson-Body. The Warriors captain set up Williams for a tip-in goal at the front of the net and gave the Warriors the first-period lead.
Oklahoma would continue to fight through the pressure, and Duris made 18 stops through two periods, but it wouldn’t be until the third when the Warriors cemented their win.
Past the halfway point in the third frame, Hunter Jones shoveled the puck through center ice to Lawson-Body, who danced into the offensive zone and laid a puck in front for Williams to tuck with just 6:37 remaining in regulation. The California native would seal the deal with an empty-net goal from Lawson-Body with one minute and 42 seconds left in the game to make it 3-0 Oklahoma. Minnesota found the back of the net with its last shot of the game, after once again pulling its goalie, but the Warriors took the 3-1 final.
The Warriors will meet either the Austin Bruins or the Maryland Black Bears in the NAHL’s Championship Game for the Robertson Cup Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Fogerty Ice Arena.