The Anchorage Wolverines scored three times in the third period tonight to take game 1 of a 3-game series over the Minnesota Wilderness, 3-1.
After being down by a goal and mustering only 16 shots through the first 2 periods, the Wolverines put 12 on the Wilderness net in the final frame to secure the victory. Grand Rapids-native Hunter Bischoff scored the tying goal 1:30 into the third on a controversial non-penalty call, where there appeared to be interference on Minnesota goaltender Konrad Kausch. With Kausch laying on the ice after making contact with a Wolverine in front of the net, Bischoff was able to toss the puck into a wide open cage for his 5th goal of the season.
Anchorage would take the lead for good when Aiden Westin scored his 8th of the season on a 2-on-1 break with Cameron Morris at the 6:09 mark. Skylar Gutierrez would add one more with 10:12 remaining for his 2nd of the season.
Another strong 1st period allowed Minnesota to get the game’s first goal. A terrific cross ice feed from Niko Rexine found Two Harbors-native Charlie Erickson alone in the face-off circle to the left of Anchorage goaltender Raythan Robbins. Erickson’s one-timer found the back of the net for his 5th goal of the season.
The Wilderness outshot the Wolverines 22-16 through the 1st two periods.
Both goaltenders were strong in the 2nd. In one 20-second segment, they each came up with huge saves to deny the other team’s top scorers. Robbins denied Ethan Wolthers on a breakaway, and Talon Sigurdson could not get one past Kausch on his own break just a few moments later.
Kausch, a Duluth, MN native, ended up with 26 saves in his first start; while Robbins won for the 10th time this season, stopping 30 of 31 Wilderness shots.
The loss is the 8th straight for the Wilderness, as their record falls to 13-15-1. The win improves Anchorage to 16-9-2.
Both teams go at it again Saturday night with puck drop scheduled for 7:15p.m. at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.