Wilderness Open Alaska Trip with Successful Bear Hunt

Isak Posch put together another standout performance in goal for the Minnesota Wilderness Saturday night, making 37 saves on 38 shots in a 2-1 win over the Kenai River Brown Bears.

The veteran from Umea, Sweden, faced 31 of Kenai’s shots over the final two periods, allowing only 1 goal.  He completely shut the door in the final 20 minutes, turning aside all 16 pucks fired toward the net to improve his record to 5-4-2.

Offensively, goals by Michael Quinn and Oliver Stumpel were enough to lead the offensive charge for Minnesota to successfully kick off its first trip to Alaska for the 2022-23 season.

The Wilderness (9-5-2) broke open the scoring on a first period power play.  After receiving a pass at the right point from Charlie Erickson, Gustav Ozolins fed the puck to Quinn at the left face-off circle for a one-timer that darted past goaltender Bryant Marks.  The goal at the 14:13 mark is the veteran defenseman’s third of the season.

Kenai (12-7-1) managed to tie the game on an early 2nd period power play when Bryce Monrean fired the puck past Posch on a shot from the slot just 2:53 into the frame.  Former Wilderness player Luke Anderson assisted on the goal, which was Monrean’s ninth of the year.

Stumpel then put the Wilderness back in front thanks to a terrific backhand pass from Gunnar Thoreson from along the end boards that reached Stumpel directly in front of the Kenai net. The Torrance, CA, native then whipped a wrister that beat Marks on the stick side for his 4th tally of the campaign.

But the score and the entire status of the hockey game as a priority would take a backseat before the end of the 2nd period. Stumpel hit the ice hard in front of the Kenai bench after he was knocked down by Brown Bears defenseman Jack Anderson and laid motionless for a period of time. With about 2:30 left in the period, the Kenai players were sent to their locker room, while Stumpel’s Wilderness teammates stayed on the ice.  An ambulance was brought in to take the 19-year-old forward to a local hospital for what was described to be an upper-body injury. Shortly after the conclusion of the game, he was reported to be feeling better, and was again able to move his legs.  His status for upcoming games remains uncertain.

After a delay of 15 minutes, Kenai returned to the ice to finish the 2nd period.  The Brown Bears stormed the Minnesota net through most of the final frame, but were repeatedly stoned by Posch.  It appeared Kenai had tied the game at the 1:24 mark, but the goal was waved off due to Posch’s headgear being knocked off just moments before the puck hit the back of the net. Carson Triggs also was denied when his shot from point blank range with about 7:00 remaining struck Posch’s leg pads.

For the 3rd period, Kenai outshot Minnesota by a 16-3 count, and for the game, the Brown Bears finished ahead, 38-18.

Both teams finished the night 1-for-3 on the power play.

The win gives Minnesota victories in back-to-back games.  The Wilderness will look to continue its winning ways Sunday, when it travels to Anchorage for a matinee versus the Wolverines. Puck drop at the Ben Boche Ice Arena is set for 4:00 p.m. AKST (7:00 p.m. CST).