Wilderness return home in first


February 3, 2023

By earning three points last weekend, the Minnesota Wilderness reclaimed a share of first place in the Midwest Division of the North American Hockey League.

With 49 points each, the Wilderness are tied atop the standings with the Fairbanks (Alaska) Ice Dogs. The division-leading teams were scheduled to play one another Thursday in Cloquet after this edition of the newspaper went to press.

The Wilderness will then host a pair at Northwoods Credit Union Arena against the resurgent Wisconsin Windigo on Friday and Saturday. The team from Eagle River, Wisconsin is tied for fourth in the league with 44 points and has won seven of its last 10. The games start at 7:15 p.m. both nights.

Last weekend, the Wilderness posted a 2-1 win Jan. 27 in Springfield, Illinois, before falling in overtime to the Jr. Blues on Saturday, 4-3.

In that game, Minnesota’s Gunnar Thoreson tied the score with about a minute remaining in regulation and after the Wilderness had pulled goalie Isak Posch in favor of an extra attacker. Thoreson’s rebound goal was his second of the weekend and eighth of the season, and forced overtime at 3-3. But the Jr. Blues scored a minute into the extra period on a goal from Jake Peterson, ending with a one-point overtime loss for the Wilderness.

Thoreson and Calvin Knight scored in the win to open the series, as the teams combined for only 41 shots in what was a tight-checking, grudge-match affair. With 34 points, the Springfield Jr. Blues remained in the cellar of the eight-team division.

The Wilderness snapped a dry spell on the power play over the weekend, breaking an 0-for-20 drought. The Kevin Marx Norén goal was his team-leading 19th of the season.


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