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Alaska trip proves fruitful

In a game that did not at all match the magical scenery of the host state, the Minnesota Wilderness got a tough 2-0 road victory Saturday over the Anchorage Wolverines to win the series 2-1.

Matt Smith earned the shutout, his third of the season, with 29 saves in a penalty-filled game.

Both teams were held scoreless through the game’s first 55 minutes, but not for lack of chances. The two teams combined for 68 minutes’ worth of penalties, 42 for the Wilderness and 26 for Anchorage. The Wilderness (27-21-1) finished the game scoreless on five power-play chances, but also denied Anchorage (25-17-6) on 11 situations with the man advantage.

Anchorage goalie Raythan Robbins made 38 saves in a 4-1 win over the Wilderness on Friday night. Robbins was strong on six Wilderness power plays, keeping them scoreless in each, and denied them on three breakaway opportunities, as he improved his season record to 16-4-5.

The series opened Thursday with a rugged win for the Wilderness, 3-1. The penalty-filled affair resulted in a combined 36 minutes of infractions with 22 minutes whistled in the third period.

Anchorage is an expansion team in its first season in the NAHL.

The Wilderness are back within one point from fourth place, held by Anchorage, in the Midwest Division and two behind Janesville in third place. Only four teams in each division qualify for playoffs.

The Wilderness remain in Alaska for another three-game series against Soldotna that begins Thursday.