Who: Minnesota Wilderness vs. Anchorage Wolverines
When: Friday and Saturday, 7:15pm; Sunday, 3:15pm
Where: Northwoods Credit Union Arena, Cloquet, MN
The lead: The Wilderness host the expansion Anchorage Wolverines for the first time in the history of both teams this weekend for a 3-game weekend series. This will be the only time this season the two teams will meet in Cloquet. They are scheduled for another 3-game series in Alaska in March. This also marks the first time the Wilderness have hosted the same team for three games in a single weekend series.
Records: Wilderness: 13-14-1; Anchorage: 15-9-2
NAHL Midwest Division standings:
Last weekend: The Wilderness dropped both games vs. St. Cloud in a home-and-home series. The Norsemen took game 1 in Cloquet Friday, 5-1, and game 2 in St. Cloud Saturday, 5-0.
Anchorage split a weekend home series with Kenai River. The Brown Bears won in overtime Friday, 3-2; while the Wolverines returned the favor Saturday, winning in OT, 5-4.
Cloudy offense: Saturday’s game in St. Cloud marked the 1st time this season the Wilderness were shutout. The Wilderness had their best chances in the 1st period, outshooting the Norsemen 9-6, but goaltender Tomas Bolo had an answer each time.
CCR at Forward: Cole Crusberg-Roseen has spent the season playing defense, but due to lineup issues last Friday, he got to move to the center position. And he answered the bell. Crusberg-Roseen ended a season long 3-game goal drought with a 3rd period goal, assisted by Niko Rexine and Ian Duffy. With 13 on the season, CCR now leads all Wilderness goal scorers.
Former Greyhound returns: The Wilderness last week acquired another former Duluth East Greyhound to its roster as a 3rd goaltender. Konrad Kausch had been playing in Massachusetts for the Bridgewater Jr. Bandits of the USPHL Premier. He began this season and spent all of 2020-21 with the Jr. Bandits. Prior to that, Kausch played 2 seasons with Duluth East with 2 of his Wilderness teammates, forwards Charlie Erickson and Logan Anderson.
Welcome back, Wolthers: Ethan Wolthers returns to the Wilderness lineup this weekend. The team captain and Valencia, CA, native missed the last 2 games due to a lower body injury. Wolthers received a cut that required stitches from a skate blade resulting from an incident in a team practice leading up to the games vs. St. Cloud.
Anchorage Notes – a home coming and a scoring machine: Grand Rapids native Hunter Bischoff returns to his home area for the first time since starting his Jr. hockey career earlier this season. The former Thunderhawk has suited up in 23 games for the Wolverines, scoring 4 goals and adding 10 assists.
The Wolverines also feature the NAHL’s most prolific goal scorer. Talon Sigurdson is a rookie that has lit the lamp 23 times this season in his 26 games. He’s also added 9 assists for 32 points. The Sartell, MN, native cashed in those exploits earlier this week by committing to play college hockey with Arizona State.
Holiday break looming: This weekend will mark the final pre-Christmas games for both teams. Players will get the opportunity to return to their hometowns and spend the holiday with their families. It will be an 11-day break for Anchorage, as they will not play until Dec. 30 at Janesville, while the Wilderness will have 12-day hiatus, with the next game scheduled for Dec. 31 at home vs. Fairbanks.