A back and forth game which saw four lead changes led to overtime heroics for the Minnesota Wilderness Saturday night. It ended with Will Persson (pronounced “passion”) scoring 1:04 into the extra frame to give the Wilderness a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Magicians.
The two teams battled to an even 2-2 tie after period 1, 3-3 after 2, and continued their tooth and nail affair through the 3rd.
Persson’s game-winner was his team-leading 9th of the season. It came off a rebound from a shot by Matt McQuade that Magicians goaltender Kyle Kozma directed toward Persson, who was positioned in the face-off circle to Kozma’s left. Persson skated to the slot and fired it past the Kozma’s glove side.
Niko Rexine led the way with 3 points for the Wilderness, with 2 goals (his first 2-goal game of his Jr. A career) and 1 assist. Persson assisted on one of Rexine’s goals for a 2-point game. Cole Crusberg-Roseen and McQuade also finished with one goal and one assist on the night.
Max Neill also collected a key third period tally for the Wilderness set up by Barrett Hall of Gentry Academy for his 1st assist and 1st career Jr. A point.
In goal, Jacob Zacharewicz won his 3rd consecutive start and improved his record to 8-3-1, stopping 31 of 36 Magician shots. Kozma lost for the 2nd straight night in goal for the Magicians, as he made 20 saves on 26 shots.
The win was the third straight overall for the Wilderness and improves their record to 11-5-1 on the season. It also allows them to maintain sole possession of 3rd place in the Midwest Division. They’ll return to action next weekend for a Friday-Saturday series in Janesville, WI, to take on the Janesville Jets.