Wilderness slip into tie for lead


January 5, 2024

A sweep at the hands of the Janesville Jets last weekend left the Minnesota Wilderness sharing the top of their division.

The Jets won 5-1 and 5-2, Saturday and Sunday nights, dominating play, including scoring three goals within 6 minutes, 24 seconds in the opening period to start the weekend series.

The sweep moved Janesville (19-10-2) into a tie for first place with Minnesota (19-11-2) in the Midwest Division with 41 points each.

The Wilderness outshot the Jets, 41-27, on Sunday, including a 12-4 advantage in the third period. Adam Prokop took the loss in goal making 22 saves on 26 Jets’ shots. Janesville’s Matthew Alberti earned the victory with 39 saves.

Trailing 3-0 Sunday, Slava Tugolukov and Adam Johnson scored early in the third period to close the Wilderness to within a goal. But that was as close as Minnesota got to a comeback all weekend.

Joe Cesario posted the Wilderness’ only goal on Saturday, coming on the power play. The Westminster, Colorado native redirected a Logan Nagle shot for Cesario’s third goal of the season.

The Wilderness used two goaltenders in the loss. Adam Prokop started the game and denied 7 of 10 Jet shots through one period in net. Loris Uberti took over in the second period and played the final 40 minutes, stopping 27 of 29 attempts.

Minnesota will seek to bounce back this weekend with another home series. The Wilderness will host the Anchorage Wolverines at Northwoods Credit Union Arena, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 5 and 6, with both games starting at 7:15 p.m.

Rounding out the Midwest Division standings to start 2024 are the third-place Wisconsin Windigo with 38 points, Anchorage Wolverines (36), Chippewa Steel (33), Fairbanks Ice Dogs (29), Kenai River Brown Bears (26), and Springfield Jr. Blues (23).


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