Minnesota Wilderness (2nd place, 19-5-9, 43 pts.)
To Date: One of the good stories of the year so far is the emergence of the Minnesota Wildereness, who have built themselves into division contenders. After winning just four of their first nine games, the Wilderness rattled off 10 straight wins, which remains an NAHL season high. It is no secret however that the Wilderness are where they are beacause of goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo. The Finnish netminder has proven to be worthy MVP candidate as he leads the league in shutouts (8), goals against average (1.35), and is second in save percentage (94.8%). The other reason is that Minnesota has had success in their top-ranked penalty kill, which is operating above a 96% clip.
Second half success: Eric Brenk has been a nice addition for the Wilderness after being acquired from Brookings in December. The Wilderness don't score a lot of goals, but they don't have to. If they can continue to get balanced scoring from a variety of players like Jakob Romo, Johno May and Billy Exell and continued success from Kaskisuo, they have all the pieces in place to be successful in the second half of the season and into the playoffs.
Interesting stat: Despite having the NAHL's best penalty kill, the Wilderness are one of three NAHL teams that have yet to score a shorthanded goal.
*Article courtesy of NAHL website* http://nahl.com/
For more mid-season reports go to http://nahl.com/news/story.cfm?id=10285