The Minnesota Wilderness let a dominant first period go by the wayside Friday night, as the Chippewa Steel dominated the final two periods to win, 7-5.
The Wilderness scored 3 and outshot the Steel 12-2 in the opening frame, but the Steel came to life early in the 2nd. The Steel outscored the Wilderness 7-2 in the final 40 minutes, which included 3 goals in the final 2:08 of the hockey game.
Joe Kelly led the way for Chippewa with 3 goals and 1 assist. His first goal came at the 9:00 mark of the 2nd with an assist from Evan Tanos. He then potted 2 more in the 3rd, the first coming at the 11:57 mark which tied the game at 4. After Cole Crusberg-Roseen scored his 2nd of the night for Minnesota with 4:57 left, Kelly would score another tying goal, just 1:49 later for his 1st career hat trick.
The Steel would then take the lead with 43 seconds remaining when Jack Brown sent a shot from right in front past Sam Livecchi. The Steel would get one more just 38 seconds later when Parker Gnos fired in a shot from the left point, as Chippewa maintained pressure in the offensive zone, keeping the Wilderness from pulling their goaltender for an extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game.
Also scoring for the Wilderness was Logan Anderson with his 1st since joining the team on Nov. 20, Ethan Wolthers with his 8th of the season, and Brendan Doyle with his 2nd since joining the Wilderness on Nov. 20.
With his 2 goals, Crusberg-Roseen now leads all Wilderness scorers with 12 on the year.
For the game, the Wilderness outshot the Steel 33-29, although the Steel were relentless in the final 20 minutes with a 14-5 shot advantage.
Levi Gho got the win in net for Chippewa with 28 saves, and improved his record on the season to 6-4. With 23 saves, Livecchi lost for the 2nd straight game, and his record fell to 5-6-1 on the season.
The loss is the second in a row for the Wilderness who fell to 13-9-1 on the season. The Steel improved to 13-11-1. The same two teams play Saturday night in Cloquet for the conclusion of the two-game home-and-home series, with puck drop scheduled for 7:15.