The North American Hockey League's Palmer-based Alaska Avalanche have still never won a playoff series after their 2-1 OT loss Saturday night to visiting Wenatchee in decisive Game 5 in Palmer.
Wenatchee forward Evan Schmidbauer, who scored all of one goal in 51 regular-season games, bagged with winner at 8:46 of OT to give the Wild the series win that advances them into the West Division Finals against the reigning league champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs, who swept the Kenai River Brown Bears in three games.
The Avs led the series 2-1 coming home from Wenatchee after winning Game 2 in OT and Game 3 in double OT.
But Wenatchee hammered Alaska 7-1 in Friday's Game 4, when the Avs unraveled in the third period. Wenatchee led 2-1 through two periods in that match before torching Alaska for five third-period, power-play goals on a night the Wild went 6 of 12 with the man advantage.
Couldn't have been a great atmosphere Saturday night at the MTA Events Center in Palmer -- attendance was listed at 173.