The Minnesota Wilderness could not counter strong special teams play from the St. Cloud Norsemen Friday night, as they fell 4-1 in the final game of their early season 8-game home stand.
St. Cloud (6-6-1) scored power play goals in the first two periods and finished 2-for-3 on the man-advantage, while also keeping Minnesota (7-5-2) off the scoreboard in their four power play situations.
Andrew Clarke led the way with a goal and 2 assists. The St. Louis, MO, native opened the scoring at 6:16 of the opening frame during St. Cloud’s first opportunity with the extra man.
Minnesota had a chance to tie the game shortly after when two Norsemen penalties gave the Wilderness a two-man advantage. The Wilderness, however, failed to capitalize during the 1:05 5-on-3, and the period ended with St. Cloud maintaining a 1-0 lead.
The Wilderness did eventually tie the game on their first shot-on-goal in the 2nd period. The play started when Eddie Shepler won a face-off in the circle to the right of Norsemen goaltender Tomas Bolo. Shepler slipped the puck to his right to Kevin Marx Noren who then found Brian Lonergan who quickly flung a shot to the net that made its way past Bolo on his glove side with 12:26 left in the frame. It’s the first Jr. A goal for the 16-year-old from Montvale, NJ, playing in only his second game with Minnesota.
That was about all the Wilderness had to celebrate Friday night, as the Norsemen would regain the lead before the 2nd period was finished. Blake Perbix made it 2-1 when he scored on the power play with just 59 seconds remaining. The Norsemen carried that momentum into the final period by limiting the Wilderness to just two shots on goal. Meanwhile, St. Cloud tacked on two more tallies – Dylan Jensen and Tyler Dysart each registered even strength goals at the 8:23 and 17:39 marks respectively to seal the 4-1 victory.
Bolo finished the game stopping 17 of Minnesota’s 18 shots and improved to 3-3 on the season. Isak Posch took the loss for the Wilderness; his record fell to 5-4-1 as he turned aside 15 of 19 shots.
Despite the loss, the Wilderness managed to finish the 8-game home stretch with an impressive 5-2-1 record. They’ll now embark on a 3-week period of road games. The first of seven away from home will be Saturday night with a trip to St. Cloud, for the 2nd game of the home-and-home series. Puck drop at the Municipal Athletic Complex is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.