“Passionate” Performance Propels Wilderness to Victory

Will Persson’s last name is not pronounced the way many in the United States expect.  The forward from Bjorklinge, Sweden, pronounces his name “passion”, and that perfectly describes the way he played for the Minnesota Wilderness Friday night.

Persson scored twice, including the game-winner midway through the 3rd period, and added an assist in leading the Wilderness (16-18-1) to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Magicians (17-13-3).

After goals by Max Neill and Kullan Daikawa staked the home team to a 2-0 lead through the first period, Persson fired in a one-timer past Magicians goaltender Marino Ramirez for his 1st tally of the night, just 21 seconds into the middle frame.  Daikawa assisted on the goal with a pinpoint cross-ice feed for his 3rd helper in just his 4th game since being called up to the club from the NA3HL’s Granite City Lumberjacks.

The Magicians, however, would test the Wilderness before the period was over, as they scored twice to cut the lead to 1, on goals by Sam Jacobs and Luke Delzer.

A strong 3rd period by the Wilderness would not allow the Magicians to get any closer.  And it was Persson’s goal 10:34 into the final frame followed by a Niko Rexine tally assisted by Persson less than 4 minutes later that helped seal the deal.

Persson’s 2nd goal came after Rexine delivered a pass from behind the Magician net to the right wing corner.  Persson then curled to the face-off circle to Ramirez’s left and fired a lazer of a wrist shot past the goaltender’s stick side to make it 4-2.

3:47 later, Persson would set up Rexine with a feed from the left wing boards, directly in front of the net.  Rexine would beat a defender to the loose puck to backhand it in for his 10th goal of the season.

The Wilderness would later add an empty goal net from Reid Conn before the Magicians scored one more from Daniil Dolzhenko on a 5-on-3 power play.

Persson’s 2 goals give him a team-leading 14 on the season.

It was also a strong night for Max Ruoho, who piled up 3 assists, and jumped back into the league lead for helpers by a defenseman.

Wilderness netminder Konrad Kausch picked up his 3rd win on the season in his 4th straight start, stopping 30 of 33 Magicians shots.

Ramirez took the loss in his first start of the season for the Magicians, as he made 33 saves on 38 shots.

The next chapter in the I-35 rivalry between the two teams will be Saturday night in Richfield, MN.  Puck drop at the Richfield Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.