Wilderness split, remain in first
December 1, 2023
Two goals scored in the final moments of regulation sent the Minnesota Wilderness to a 5-4 victory over the Janesville Jets Saturday in Wisconsin, capping a successful 2-1 week which kept the team atop the league standings.
With goaltender Loris Uberti pulled for an extra attacker, Gustavs Ozolins tied the game on a shot through traffic with 1 minute, 28 seconds left. That was followed by Ashton Dahms notching the game-winner on a breakaway with 12.4 seconds left.
That capped off a back-and-forth game in which the Wilderness gave up a lead three times, allowing the Jets to jump in front 4-3 late in the second period.
Ozolins’ tying goal was his second of the season. Dahms’ goal gives him 17 which moves him into a tie for second among all North American Hockey League scorers. He also now has a league-leading seven game-winners.
Also last week, the Jets (12-10-2) won the opener Nov. 24 over Minnesota, 6-3.
On Nov. 22, Minnesota saw two newcomers combined for 5 points in leading the Wilderness to its best offensive performance of the season.
In his first game with the squad, Alessandro Lurati registered one goal and two assists while Slava Tugolukov, playing in his third game, scored twice in a 6-2 triumph over the Chippewa Steel. The victory was Minnesota’s fourth consecutive at the time, and the team is 6-4 in its last 10 games.
The first-place Wilderness (16-7-2) go on the road again this weekend with a matchup vs. the Midwest Division’s second-place squad — the Wisconsin Windigo. The two-game series in Eagle River, Wisconsin, kicks off 7 p.m. Friday. With 34 points, Minnesota leads the Midwest Division by 6 points over the Windigo (12-9-3).