Team hits a Steel wall


January 14, 2022

Croix Kochendorfer stopped all 31 shots Saturday night in leading the Chippewa Steel to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wilderness.

It was the first game of 2022 for the Steel (17-15-1) as the team returned after a three-week break. The team showed little rust in the early moments as it jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period when Sam Frandina beat Wilderness goaltender Konrad Kausch on a power-play goal 4:26 into the frame. That goal was followed by Ryan Remick’s tally with 3:23 remaining when he converted on a 2-on-1 on a feed from Braden Lindstrom. The Steel would seal the game on an empty-net goal from Nick Sajevic with 3:05 remaining in the third.

The loss is Minnesota’s 11th in their last 13 games.

The Wilderness (15-18-1) had moments to take back momentum in the first two periods as they controlled most of the play, outshooting Chippewa by a 25-13 count over the first 40 minutes. But most of the chances were snuffed out by good defensive positioning by the Steel and solid goaltending by Kochendorfer, as the rookie from St. Paul notched the first shutout of his Jr. A career. Chippewa limited the Wilderness chances in the third period, outshooting the Wilderness by an 11-6 count.

The Wilderness were aided by the return of Will Persson, who missed most of December renewing his work visa in Europe. The veteran from Sweden leads the Wilderness in power-play goals with six, but the team still could not convert with the man-advantage, falling short on all four opportunities. The Wilderness have now been held scoreless on the power-play for nine straight games. Meanwhile, Chippewa finished 1 for 3 with the extra man.

The Wilderness return to the ice next weekend, as they take on the Minnesota Magicians in a home-and-home series. Friday’s game will be in Cloquet, with puck drop scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Saturday night’s rematch in Richfield will begin at 7 p.m.


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