Six different goal scorers lit the lamp Friday night in leading the Minnesota Wilderness to a 6-2 victory over the Janesville Jets. Ethan Wolthers led the way with a 3-point effort, as he added two assists in the win which puts the Wilderness just one triumph away from clinching a spot in this season’s NAHL playoffs.
After Jonah Aegerter scored to put the Jets up 1-0 5:36 into period 1, the Wilderness (34-21-2) answered with 5 consecutive goals. Sam Antenucci factored in on the first two, scoring to tie the game after a taking a terrific pass from Ren Morque 10:21 into the first, and then forcing a turnover at neutral ice that led to Wolthers’ goal 3:55 later.
The 2-1 lead was extended early in the 2nd when Alex Pineau deposited his first since coming to the Wilderness in December. The rookie from Thunder Bay fired in a shot from the slot to make the score 3-1 at the 4:54 mark. Goals from Barrett Hall and a power-play tally from Max Neill would stretch the Minnesota bulge to 5-1.
A third period Jet surge would get the home team a little closer, when William Gustavsson scored at the 3:27 mark. That was as close as Janesville (32-24-1) would get, as the Wilderness iced the game with a power-play empty net goal from Gunnar Thoreson with 3:13 left on the clock.
The win snaps a 5-game home winning streak for Janesville over the Wilderness. It also extends Minnesota’s current winning streak to 4 games and its consecutive games with a point to 9 games.
Matt Smith earned the win to improve his Wilderness record to 13-1-1. The rookie finished the night with 26 saves on 28 shots. Owen Millward took the loss for Janesville, stopping 26 of 31 Minnesota shots.
A 5-point lead in the Midwest Division standings over Janesville means Minnesota has three chances to guarantee that it will play post-season hockey. The first opportunity comes tomorrow night. They and the Jets will close out the weekend series with puck drop scheduled for 7:00p.m. at the Janesville Arena.