Wilderness Stumble Again; Steel Sweep Series

The Chippewa Steel had goals from six different players and were backed by stellar goaltending Saturday night, as they handed the Minnesota Wilderness their 3rd straight defeat, 6-1 at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.

Croix Kochendorfer stopped 39 of 40 Wilderness shots, including all 17 shots he faced in the 1st period, to secure his 7th win of the season.  

Ethan Janda opened the scoring for Chippewa early in the first when he was able to jam in a rebound past Jacob Zacharewicz for his 3rd goal of the season at the 3:06 mark.  

The Steel made it 2-0 early in the 2nd when Jax Schauer picked up the first goal of his Jr. A career at the 2:30.  The Wilderness responded quickly when Gunnar Thoreson scored his 8th of the season just 10 seconds later to make it 2-1.  Max Ruoho and Will Persson assisted on the Thoreson goal.

The Wilderness had a number of chances to even the score through the remainder of the 2nd and throughout the 3rd including several on the power play, but were continuously stymied by Kochendorfer.  

The Steel,  meanwhile, managed to extend their lead when Ethan Benz scored with 6:01 left in the final frame.  That was followed by 3 more Steel goals from Joe Kelly, Jack Brown and Matthew Brille to seal the victory.

The Wilderness finished 0 for 6 on the power play, but were solid on the penalty kill, denying the Steel on all 3 of their opportunities, including 1:47 of a two-man advantage in the 1st period.  

With the win, Chippewa sweeps the 2-game home-and-home series, and improves to 14-11-1 on the season.  The loss drops the Wilderness record to 13-10-1.  

Minnesota heads on the road next weekend for two games against Fairbanks in Marshall, MN, on Dec. 3 and 4.  They’ll return home for a game December 10 vs. St. Cloud.