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#USPHLPlayoffs: Minnesota Squatch vs. Isanti Outlaws

Midwest West Division 

Isanti Outlaws (7) at Minnesota Squatch (2)

All Games At Furniture And Things Community Event Center, Elk River, MN

Friday, March 1, 8 p.m. CST

Saturday, March 2, 9 p.m. CST

Sunday, March 3, 7:15 p.m. CST 

 

By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com 

 

The Minnesota Squatch made their debut as a team in 2022-23 and were like a sprinter born to medal blazing out of the gates. They looked destined to make their Nationals debut the same year after sweeping their first round series – then they ran into the Minnesota Moose, who upset them in three games. 

The Squatch finished second in the Midwest West for the second straight season and don’t want to give up their chance to be part of “the Nationals Crowd” this year. They once again draw the Isanti Outlaws in a rematch of last year’s 2v7 match-up, The Squatch won twice 6-3 in that series. This year, the Squatch won all four of their games against the Outlaws. The first two games were quite decisive in September and October, while the latter two games – including one on Feb. 23 by a 5-1 score – were closer. A quick look at the playoff landscape shows there’s already been some big upsets. The No. 7 seed Junior Bruins defeated the defending National Champion Northern Cyclones (No. 2) in the New England Division before Friday even saw sunset. There is precedent for a big upset already in place in 2024. 

“We’ve had some tough battles with the Squatch this year,” said Outlaws Head Coach Donovan Gault. “They are a good team and my guys are ready for a tough series against them. I think we’ve been playing better as of late and our win at the end of the regular season [2-1 over the Minnesota Moose on Feb. 24] has hopefully given us a little momentum going into this weekend.”

“We are excited to be playing at home and we are expecting big crowds for this series. We swept the Outlaws during the regular season, but they played us tough last week,” added Squatch Owner/GM/Head Coach Chic Pojar. “Our goal is to play solid team defense as they have some proven goal scorers in Easton Parnell and Tyler Schmitt. As long as we stay out of the penalty box, I like our chances.”

All season, the Squatch were powered by Jay Ellingson (34-67-101) as well as Cannon Bonifay (88 points). And all this was before the return of last year’s 103-point scorer Daniel Ellingson, and he chipped in 23 points in 10 games down the stretch after joining from the NCDC’s Ogden Mustangs. The Squatch were so deep, they had no less than seven players with at least one point per game average over 20 games on the season. Jay Ellingson was the team’s plus-minus leader at +49, Alec Bjork was the leader in faceoff wins (347, 52 percent), defenseman Jeb Gould led in hits with 45 and blueliner Thomas Wiesen had a team-leading 40 blocked shots. 

Trevor Roy went 15-3-0-0 in net to lead a trio that also included regulars Andrew Finneman and Avery Smith. 

The aforementioned Easton Parnell and Tyler Schmitt are the foundations of the Isanti franchise. They are 1-2 in career scoring with Parnell posting 179 points in four seasons and Schmitt has 173 points in three years. This year, their point totals are 62 and 56, respectively. Lyndon Orr has been a big help of 40 points in 44 games. Parnell is a faceoff wizard (688 wins for 56 percent), while Schmitt led in hits (54) and blocked shots (81). 

Zachary White was the main man in net for the Outlaws, as he put up a .918 save percentage.

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