Another overtime game, another game-winner from Joe Cesario.
That was the story for the Minnesota Wilderness Friday night, as they came from behind to beat the Anchorage Wolverines, 3-2, in the first of a 3-game series.
Cesario notched his 2nd OT winner in as many games when, from the slot, he fired in a rebound from a Kevin Marx Noren shot with 58 seconds left in the extra period. The fifth goal of the season for the Winchester, CO, native was the result of a massive amount of pressure Minnesota (3-3-1) began to apply at the start of the 3rd period. For the final 24:02 of the game, Minnesota outshot Anchorage (3-3-2) 15-5, and outscored the Wolverines, 2-0.
Beau Janzig also contributed with a clutch goal late in the final period. The veteran from Hermantown, MN, recorded his first Jr. A tally with 4:34 left to tie the game at 2. Reid Daavettila assisted on the goal when he fed the puck to Janzig in the high slot, that was converted with a quick shot that beat Anchorage goaltender Shane Soderwall on the stick side.
For Daavettila, it was his 2nd point of the night. The rookie kicked off the scoring in the first period with his first career Jr. A goal that was the result of aggressive fore-checking. Daavetilla muscled the puck from Wolverine defenseman Hayden Hennen then walked in on goal and deposited the puck after stick-handling around Soderwall, beating the goaltender on the stick side.
However, the 1-0 lead did not last long. Anchorage tied the game exactly one minute later on the power play on Fedya Nikolaenya’s first goal in his first game with the Wolverines. Anchorage would then take the lead on its next chance with the man-advantage, when Aiden Westin fired in his 2nd goal of the season with 2:58 left in the opening period. Cooper Morris assisted on both Anchorage goals, with Clay Allen adding a helper on the first, and Nikolaenya picking up his 2nd point with an assist on the 2nd.
Isak Posch picked up his second straight win in net, stopping 22 of 24 Wolverine shots, and improving his record to 2-2-1.
The loss dropped Soderwall’s mark on the campaign to 2-3-1.
After giving up goals on Anchorage’s first two power plays, the Wilderness penalty kill buckled down, and held the Wolverines off the scoreboard in their final three chances. Meanwhile, Minnesota failed to register a power play goal for the 2nd straight contest, going 0-for-2.
The win marks the first time this season Minnesota has won back-to-back games, and extends its streak of consecutive games with a point to four (3-0-1).
Game 2 of the series will be Saturday night at 7:15 at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.