Wilderness stay alive in playoffs, play again tonight

 

April 26, 2024

Daniel Astapovich scored twice and Adam Prokop made 32 saves to lead he Minnesota Wilderness to a 4-1 victory over the Anchorage Wolverines Friday night. The win keeps the Wilderness alive in the Robertson Cup playoffs as it trims Anchorage’s lead in the Best of five Midwest Division semifinal series at 2-games-to-1.

Peyton Nelson also recorded two points with a goal and assist, while Ren Morque posted one goal. Nash Jacobsma also attended the 2-point party with a pair of assists.

Kade Shea scored Anchorage’s lone tally late in the third period.

Minnesota outshot the Wolverines, 39-33. Liam Beerman suffered the loss in net making 35 saves on 38 shots.

The Wilderness opened the scoring when Morque registered his first career playoff goal 4:35 into the first period. The veteran from Grand Rapids, Minnesota, beat Beerman on a shot from the right face-off circle as the two teams skated 4-on-4. Nelson and Beau Janzig assisted on the goal.

The Wilderness expanded its lead with two goals in the first 5:47 of the 2nd period. Astapovich struck with his first of the game and of the playoffs when he converted on a 2-on-2 break with Allesandro Lurati. Lurati drew the two defenders to his side of the ice as he carried the puck across the Anchorage blue line along the left boards. He then centered the puck with a saucer pass directly to Astapovich, who moved in one-on-one with the goaltender and beat Beerman high on the glove side to make the score 2-0. Harper Searles also assisted on the goal at 2:08 of the middle frame.

3:40 later, Peyton Nelson caught a centering pass from Nash Jacobsma to deposit his first playoff goal that was also assisted by Joe Cesario.

In between those two Wilderness goals came a massive save by Prokop that kept his team in the lead and carrying the momentum. At the 3:30 mark, Fedya Nikolayenya appeared to have a wide open net in front of him after receiving a pass from Drew Nelson while positioned in the left face-off circle. Nikolayenya whipped a one-timer toward a gap that Prokop swiftly closed while sliding from his left to his right.

Minnesota held onto its 3-goal advantage until the late stages of the 3rd period. Shortly after the first face-off after Anchorage pulled Beerman for an extra attacker, Astapovich blocked a Wolverine shot that resulted in the puck deflecting to neutral ice. The veteran from Birmingham, MI, then chased down the puck and fired it into the empty Anchorage net to make it 4-0. Jacobsma earned the lone assist on the goal which came with 3:30 left in the game.

The Wolverines spoiled Prokop’s shutout bid with Shea’s red-lighter. The former Duluth Denfeld Hunter scored on the power play with 2:03 left on the clock.

Anchorage finished 1-for-4 on the man-advantage, while the Wilderness continues to search for its first playoff power play goal—going 0-for-2 with the extra man Friday night.

Minnesota hopes to continue its comeback Saturday night. Game 4 of the series is set for 7:15 p.m. at Northwoods Credit Union Arena.

 
 

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