A goal by Grand Rapids, MN, native Hayden DeMars broke a 1-1 tie late in the 3rd period Friday night, and the Minnesota Wilderness hung on to beat the Minnesota Magicians 2-1. It was the first Jr. A goal for DeMars, playing just this weekend for the Wilderness before he re-joins the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks for the 2021-22 season.
Hermantown native Aaron Pionk started the play when he delivered a pass to DeMars in the slot in the Magicians zone. DeMars made one move to his left to evade a defender and then sent a quick wrist shot past Magician goaltender Kyle Kozma high on the stick side with 4:30 left in the final frame. Max Ruoho (ROW-ho) also earned an assist on the goal.
The back and forth game featured a slew of offensive opportunities for both teams, as goaltenders on each side made multiple key saves. Jacob Zacharewicz (z’KAR-a-wits) picked up his 2nd straight win and 7th on the season for the Wilderness, stopping 35 of 36 shots. Kozma took the loss for the Magicians, with 39 saves.
The Magicians opened the scoring in the 1st period. Capitalizing on a turnover, Mason Campbell found the back of the Wilderness net after getting a pass from Nicholas Babbie to give the Magicians a 1-0 lead. Trevor Kukkonen also assisted on the goal.
The Wilderness tied the game on a power play goal in the 2nd. Cole Crusberg-Roseen (KREWS-berg-roh-ZEEN) picked up his 7th tally on the season when he fired in a rebound from the bottom of the faceoff circle to the right of Kozma’s stick side. Pionk and Ethan Wolthers assisted on the goal.
With the win, the Wilderness improve to 10-4-1 on the season and step above the Magicians in the Midwest Division standings. The 2 teams entered the night in a 3-way tie for 3rd place with Anchorage. Meanwhile, the Magicians record fell to 9-6-1.
The I-35 rivalry resumes Saturday night. The Wilderness and Magicians will conclude the weekend home and home series in Richfield. Puck drop at Richfield Arena is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.