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Wilderness split, get hat trick

A split with Springfield Jr. Blues in Illinois last weekend left the Minnesota Wilderness clinging to a tie for third place in its division.

The Wilderness got a hat trick from forward Peyton Nelson on Saturday, leading to a 6-2 win. The Centennial, Colorado native scored once in the second, on a breakaway in the third and again on an empty netter late as the Wilderness scored four times in the final 7 minutes, 29 seconds to break open the game.

On Feb. 16, the Wilderness (25-17-4) fell, 4-2, to Springfield (15-22-6).

Goalie Nick Erickson earned his 12th win of the season for Minnesota, which trails the Wisconsin Windigo (66 points), and Janesville Jets (57) in the North American Hockey League’s Midwest Division, and is tied with Anchorage Wolverines (54).

Erickson, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, holds a .931 save percentage, the fifth-best figure in the entire league.

Minnesota, winners of three of its last four, faces the Jets this weekend, with a two-game home set Friday and Saturday at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet. Game times are 7:15 p.m.