A 1-1 stalemate was busted open Saturday night when the Chippewa Steel scored four times en route to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wilderness.
The loss spoils a 2-goal night for Ren Morque—the Wilderness defenseman’s first two tallies of the 2022-23 season.
Morque’s first goal came in the first period and tied the game minutes after the Steel opened the scoring on a goal by Parker Gnos. Gunnar Thoreson and Donovan O’neil assisted on Morque’s tally, which came on the power play with 7:15 left in the opening frame.
After a scoreless 2nd period, Chippewa began to convert on its chances. Noah Grolnic and Peyton Platter each scored within the first 3:36 of the final period to make the score 3-1. Morque then deposited his 2nd goal at the 6:42 mark, with assists going to Kevin Marx Noren, and Thoreson for his 2nd of the night to cut the Steel lead to 3-2.
The Steel needed less than two minutes to respond. Chippewa restored the 2-goal lead when Matthew Brille found the back of the net on a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Isak Posch high on the glove side. Platter would complete the scoring with his 2nd of the game with 4:25 left in the period.
For the 2nd straight night, Chippewa (13-8-1) would finish with more than 40 shots on goal. The Steel outshot Minnesota by a 42-28 count. Carter Wishart recorded the win in goal with 26 saves. Posh took the loss with a 37-save performance. It follows Friday’s 4-3 overtime win for the Wilderness in which Posch made 38 saves on 41 shots.
Minnesota (12-7-2) converted once on two power plays on the night, and its penalty kill held Chippewa off the scoreboard in its lone man-advantage situation.
The loss means the Wilderness have slipped back down to 5th place in the Midwest Division. It now trails Chippewa in the division’s final playoff spot by one point.
On a positive note, Minnesota’s 7-game span of road games is now over. The Wilderness finished its first long stretch of games away from home—outside of the 4-game neutral ice NAHL Showcase in September—with a 5-2 record. It’ll return home Wednesday night to kick off a set of four games which will mark Minnesota’s final games in Cloquet before the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break.
That opening home contest will also mark the end of the 3-game series vs. Chippewa. The Steel will be in town for the annual Thanksgiving eve game with puck drop scheduled for 7:15 p.m.