The Minnesota Wilderness had stellar goaltending Wednesday night from Isak Posch, but could not generate enough offense, as they fell to the Shreveport Mudbugs at the NAHL Showcase, 3-1.
Nik Miller led Shreveport (1-0-0) with two goals and Logan Valkama added two assists. Miller opened the scoring at the 1:44 mark of the first period, and then deposited the game-winner on a power-play with 10:24 remaining in the third period. In between those goals, Shreveport had multiple opportunities to expand its lead, but were repeatedly denied by Posch.
The veteran netminder from Umea, Sweden, finished the night with 30 saves on 32 shots. His most impressive stop came midway through the 2nd period when Drake Morse and Brent Litchard skated in on a 2-on-zero breakaway. Litchard took a pass from Morse and appeared to have a wide open net that was swiftly closed when Posch maneuvered from left to right to make a spectacular save with an extended right leg.
Offensively, Minnesota had difficulty generating chances until about midway through the first period. They came close to getting on the scoreboard twice in the 2nd, when a shot from Joe Guentzel hit the post to the right of Mudbug goaltender Tommy Aitken, and a Calvin Knight chance on the penalty kill hit the crossbar.
Special teams played a big part of the game, as the teams combined for 10 power play chances. Shreveport was denied on its first five with the man-advantage, but finally connected on its 6th opportunity, which was on a delay of game call on Posch. The officials whistled the infraction after the Minnesota goaltender fired the puck into the Wilderness bench at 7:46 of the 3rd, and Miller ended scoring the goal with just 10 seconds left in the penalty.
Minnesota got on the board to again make it a one-goal game on its fourth power play of the night. Cole Gordon fired in his 2nd of the season when he beat Aitken on a rebound with 6:29 left. Charlie Erickson and Adam Johnson assisted on the goal.
The Mudbugs completed the scoring when Hayden Nichol poked in an empty-net goal with 49 seconds remaining in regulation.
Aitken earned the victory in net making 19 saves on 20 shots.
The Wilderness (0-3-0) will try again for the first win Thursday afternoon. They’ll face off with the Northeast Generals in day two of the Showcase at 4:45.