Lineup bolstered for stretch run
February 17, 2023
Division-leading Minnesota Wilderness made a number of transactions within the last week ahead of the North American Hockey League's roster freeze. In the process, the team parted ways with Joe Cesario and Ren Morque, two players who'd been instrumental in helping Minnesota to the top of the Midwest Division.
Five new players were acquired to help bolster a lineup ahead of the regular season's final stretch, a team news release said.
New to the team are:
• Bo Cosman, a 21-year-old forward from Milton, Georgia. Formerly of the Anchorage Wolverines, Cosman has 14 points over 30 games this season, and is committed to play college hockey at University of Massachusetts.
• Niklas Erickson, an 18-year-old goaltender from Apple Valley, Minnesota. Prior to junior hockey, Erickson spent two seasons with Hill-Murray High School, where he set career records for goals against average (1.40) and save percentage (.931).
• Nicolas Haviar, a three-year junior hockey veteran from Vail, Colorado. The 20-year-old forward was part of New Mexico's 2021-22 South Division championship squad. This season, he has compiled four goals and three assists over 36 games, including a goal in his first two games with the Wilderness.
• Evan Pahos, 19, of Edina, Minnesota, who was acquired from the St. Cloud Norsemen, has notched one goal and nine assists over 34 games this season.
• Sawyer Scholl, three-year veteran who began his career with his hometown Green Bay Gamblers. Scholl is a 20-year-old forward who was acquired by the Wilderness through a deal that sent Morque to Sioux City. Scholl jumped into his role with the Wilderness, scoring a goal in the first period in his first game on Feb. 2. He has an NCAA verbal commitment to play at the University of Wisconsin.
Two of the deals forced the Wilderness to part ways with others who have been with the team for at least the last month. Defenseman Severi Sulonen was sent to St. Cloud for Pahos, while forward Cesario and defenseman Mitch Simmons went to Anchorage for Bo Cosman. The Wilderness received Haviar in exchange for a future draft pick.
Cesario and Morque were among Minnesota's top playmakers with 25 and 24 points, respectively, at the time of their trades.
With the roster freeze and others coming off injured reserve within the next few weeks, four players were released from the team, and have found a home with the NAHL's Alexandria Blizzard. They include goaltender Konrad Kausch, forwards Calvin Knight and Hayden DeMars, and defenseman Jameson O'Flynn.
With 52 points, Minnesota leads the Midwest Division of the NAHL, and is back on the ice this weekend for a road series against second-place Wisconsin Windigo in Eagle River, Wisconsin. Surging Wisconsin (51 points) swept Minnesota in their last two-game encounter earlier this month.
Minnesota (23-13-6) was off last weekend and has 18 games remaining until the start of playoffs in mid-April.