Into the Timber

This Past Weekend

By: Dwight Cadwell

The Minnesota Wilderness split their weekend series with the Kenai River Brown Bears this weekend in Soldotna, Alaska. The Wilderness, who are on a two week road trip to Alaska, opened with a 6-2 win over the Bears at Soldotna Ice Arena. Niklas Lehtimaki had a 4 point night for Minnesota as he had 2 goals and 2 assists on the night.

Lehtimaki, Michael Covach, and Billy Exell all scored first period goals as the Wilderness jumped out to an early lead which the Brown Bears could not recover. Brett Heikkila scored in the second stanza to give the Wilderness a 4-1 lead after two periods.

Tyler Cline and Lehtimaki's second goal of the game came in the third period which put Minnesota in front 6-1, Kenai added a late goal in the contest. Brock Kautz stopped 24 shots for the win in the nets.

Saturday night saw the Brown Bears gaining some revenge as the Wilderness as the Bears beat the Wilderness by a score of 5-1. Lehtimaki continued his goal onslaught as he scored his third goal of the trip to put the Wilderness in front 2:07 into the second period.

That however was the last goal of the night, as Kenai River scored 5 unanswered goals to pick up the divisional win and split the series.

The Wilderness out shot Kenai River for the second consecutive night but Adam Derks came up big Saturday stopping 30 of 31 shots he faced. Kautz stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced in the loss. The Wilderness fall to 8-4 overall in the Midwest Division and are in third place based on points, but the Wilderness have played five fewer games then division leading Fairbanks.

Next Weekend

The Minnesota Wilderness finish up their Alaska tour with two games in Fairbanks.  The Ice Dogs hold a five point advantage on the Wilderness in the standings. The Ice Dogs are led by Chandler Madry, who is in his third season with the team.  He has six goals and sixteen assists in seventeen games.  Patrick Munson has carried the load in net for Fairbanks, playing in twelve games with an 8-3 record, 2.81 goals against average, and 89.7 save percentage.  Fairbanks is 10-6-1 on the season, accumulating 21 points over seventeen games.  The Ice Dogs are 4-2 on home ice his season.

Next Home Game

The Minnesota Wilderness will be running a Movember Campaign, the entire month of November to raise awareness and money for men’s health in the fields of prostate, testicular, and mental health.  The Wilderness will use The Movember Foundation’s website to generate funds from family, friends, and fans during November.  Everyone will be able to track our progress on our website at  There you will find a link to the Wilderness’s Movember account but also each player and staff members account.  We will have brochures and a table set up during our four November homes games (5th, 21st, 22nd, and 26th) to create awareness and collect money.

Movember was created in 2003 in Australia when two mates wondered where the moustache or the “Mo” had gone in the fashion world.  They, along with 28 mates, decided to use the month of November to grow moustaches and create a buzz about prostate cancer while doing so.  In 2009, the United States officially recognized The Movember Foundation as a charity when it joined forces with The LIVESTRONG Foundation to add testicular cancer as a cause they were raising money for.  Hockey has took a special liking to the Movember cause as many NHL, college, and junior teams have participated by having their players and staff grow moustaches for the month to create awareness.  If you see a Wilderness player or staff member supporting a moustache, over the next month, feel free to ask how you can get involve.  These three diseases affect one in every five males worldwide and we look forward to helping this cause out!

Alumni Update

Dominik Tiffels decided during the offseason to forgo his last year of junior eligibility to turn pro back home in Germany.  He signed a contract with the Heilbronner Falken of the DEL-2 and in 13 games has racked up two goals and two assists.  That is good enough for second on the team in scoring for defensemen. 

Kasimir Kaskisuo was named National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Rookie of the Week after starting both home games versus Denver.  Kasimir posted .923 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average on the weekend split.  The Bulldogs lost 3-1 on Friday and then posted a 6-1 win on Saturday.  Kaskisuo is 2-2 on season with a .911 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average. 

This weekend marks the beginning of the Division 3 season, with many of our alumni seeing their first action.  Last year’s captain, Jesse Kessler, and assistant captain, Jaycob McCombs, will help Hamline University open their season in the MIAC Showcase.  Defender Will Peterson, will also be helping Augsburg College in the MIAC Showcase.  Goaltender Frank Oplinger will help Hobart College as they hit the road to open their season.