Shepler Debuts with Wilderness to Score Game-Winner

The Minnesota Wilderness slipped above .500 for the first time in the 2022-23 season with a 2-1 victory over the Anchorage Wolverines Saturday night.

A close, tight-checking game that was tied at one until the latter stages of the 3rd period was decided by Eddie Shepler, who was playing his first game with Minnesota after being acquired in a trade with the Bismarck Bobcats. Shepler made his first Wilderness goal a game-winner when he fired the puck past Anchorage netminder Shane Soderwall as a result of a goal-mouth scramble with 7:50 remaining.  On the goal, Adam Johnson picked up his 2nd assist on the night, with Reid Daavettila also registering a helper.

Konrad Kausch posted his 2nd straight victory of the season by making 27 saves on 28 shots.  He let in his only goal with 3:12 left in the first when Clay Allen redirected a Jackson Reineke shot that beat Kausch high on the stick side.

The Allen goal tied the game at one, less than 2 minutes after the Wilderness opened the scoring.  The game’s first goal was on Minnesota’s second power play of the night.  Johnson started the play with a shot from the left face-off circle that Soderwall kicked out directly in front. The netminder then denied Hunter Bulger on a rebound but could not stop Noah Griswold who shoveled the puck between Soderwall’s left leg and the post for this second goal of the season.

Johnson’s two assists give him six on the season, and allowed him to extend his point-streak to six games.

The goal was Minnesota’s first on the power play for the weekend, as they finished 1-for-4 on the man-advantage.

Anchorage (3-4-2) failed to convert on its two power plays.  For the weekend, Minnesota has now killed five consecutive Wolverine power plays, after Anchorage scored on its first two chances Friday night.

In the loss, Soderwall’s record fell to 2-4-1 on the campaign.  Kausch improved his mark to 2-1.

The win is the third straight for Minnesota, as they improve their record to 4-3-1, and it moves them ahead of the Wolverines to 5th place in the Midwest Division standings (Minnesota also won Friday night’s series opener, 3-2 in overtime).

However, the weekend series is not over yet.  The two teams will close out the trio of games Sunday evening with puck drop scheduled for 5:15 p.m.