Wilderness and Jr. Blues Meet in Thursday/Friday Series

Who:  Springfield Jr. Blues at Minnesota Wilderness

When: Thursday and Friday, 7:15 p.m.  

Where:  Northwoods Credit Union Arena, Cloquet, MN

The lead:  Only meetings in Cloquet this season between Jr. Blues and Wilderness

Records:  Wilderness:  31-21-2; Springfield: 34-17-3 

NAHL Midwest Division standings:

Team Points Games played
1 Springfield  71 54
1 Fairbanks 71 56
3 MN Wilderness 64 54
4 Anchorage 62 52
5 Janesville 61 53
6 MN Magicians 57 53
7 Chippewa 45 53
8 Kenai River 31 56

Last weekend:  The Wilderness took 3 of 4 points vs. Janesville in a home series vs. the Jets.  After falling to the Jets in a shootout 4-3 on Friday, the Wilderness rebounded with a 4-0 victory Saturday.  

Springfield swept a home series vs. the Minnesota Magicians, winning Friday, 6-1, and in overtime Saturday, 4-3.  

Season series:  These will be the fifth and sixth meetings of the season between Minnesota and Springfield.  The teams split the previous four meetings in Springfield, played Oct. 29-30 and March 4-5.  

Wilderness Take Series vs. Jets:  Minnesota’s win Saturday clinched the season series vs. the Jets.  The win is Minnesota’s 5th in the 8 games between the two teams, with two remaining in Janesville April 8-9.  Due to the Jets win on Friday being completed in overtime, the Wilderness will finish the season series with a minimum of 11 points, while the Jets cannot finish with more than 10.

Kausch Recovers from Rough Patch:  After three games of giving a up a combined total of 17 goals, Konrad Kausch has bounced back, giving up only 1 in his last two starts.  Kausch stopped all 22 he faced in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Janesville for his 2nd shutout of the season.  This followed his previous start where he allowed one goal at Kenai River on March 19 – a game in which he left late in the 2nd period due to injury.  Prior to the Kenai game, Kausch lost two consecutive starts, giving up 3 vs. St. Cloud and 9 vs. Springfield, and also surrendered 5 in a win 7-5 win over Fairbanks.    

CCR Approaches Career Scoring Mark:   After breaking the Wilderness single-season record for goals by a defenseman (previously held by Grant Docter), Cole Crusberg-Roseen is now just one goal away from tying the team’s career goal mark for blueliners.  Ondrej Trejbal set his record of 20 over two seasons, scoring 9 in 2017-18 and 11 in 2018-19.

Wolthers Ties Special Teams Record:  When Ethan Wolthers assisted on Sam Antenucci’s short-handed goal Saturday, it allowed Wolthers to match a single-season record achieved only once prior in team history.   That assist gave Wolthers three short-handed helpers on the season, which equals the total posted by Darian Romanko in 2014-15.  It also makes him even with three others in career short-handed assists:  Aaron Myers, Ash Altmann and Janis Jaks all posted 3 over their two seasons with Minnesota.

 State Champs Make Debut:  The Wilderness had two members of teams that led their schools to state titles earlier this month join them in the weekend series vs. Janesville.  Andover’s Gavyn Thoreson and Hermantown’s Beau Janzig both skated in their first Jr. A game on Friday night (Janzig also played Saturday).  Thoreson helped the Huskies to the Class AA championship, while Janzig was part of Hermantown’s title-winning squad.  The younger brother of Wilderness forward Gunnar Thoreson, Gavyn earned an assist in Friday’s shootout loss for his first point with the Wilderness.  

Neill’s Two-Point Deal: A goal and assist Saturday for Max Neill marked the ninth time this season that the veteran forward recorded at least 2 points in a game, and also helped lead the Wilderness to another victory.  Minnesota has yet to lose when Neill puts up at least two points in a single game.  Furthermore, when scoring at least one point the team is much more likely to win than when he is shutout.  When Neill registers a point, the Wilderness are 24-7-1, as opposed to a 7-14-1 record when he is held off the scoresheet.

High on Hall:  Forward Barrett Hall goes into this weekend with Minnesota’s longest point streak.  The Apple Valley, MN, native points in his last 4 games, registering 3 goals and 4 assists in that span.  The rookie has appeared in 13 games this season and is averaging a point-per-game, with 4 goals and 9 assists.

Bluenotes:  Springfield’s goaltending was bolstered earlier this season thanks to a native of Minneapolis.   Aksel Reid made his Jr. Blue debut Jan. 22 after being acquired from the Bismarck Bobcats.  Since arriving in Springfield, Reid has played in 13 games and posted an 8-3-1 record, including wins in his last 3.  The rookie from the Blake School has a goals against average of 2.51 and stopped 91.4% of all shots he has faced with Springfield.