Wilderness Experience Déjà vu Victory vs. Jets

If a game in which the Minnesota Wilderness fell behind 2-0 in the first period to the Janesville Jets and then came back to win 4-3 largely due to power-play goals sounds familiar, congratulations, you have been paying attention.  Those events played out in Friday’s game 1 of the two-game series and were repeated in game 2 on Saturday night. One key difference for Saturday’s game is that instead of ending in regulation, the winner was decided in a shootout—albeit with the same player scoring the game-winning goal.

Kevin Marx Noren’s goal in the bottom of the 2nd round of the shootout followed by goaltender Isak Posch’s denial of Gabe Lundberg’s chance in the top of round 3 clinched the victory for Minnesota as they swept the 2-game series.

Michael Quinn and Charlie Erickson led the way offensively in the regulation time with each posting one goal and one assist.

In Saturday’s game, Janesville built its lead with one goal 51 seconds into the game, and another just over eight minutes later. The Jets scored the first goal after a turnover at the Janesville blue line, and a two-man break ensued that eventually led to Ethan Begg beating Posch high on the glove side. Noah Gibbs would give the Jets a 2-goal lead 8:54 into the first with his 2nd goal of the weekend.

A double-minor penalty to Chris Pelosi with 3:14 left in the first sparked the Wilderness comeback. The 4-minute penalty meant Minnesota would get back-to-back 2-minute power plays, and it capitalized on both with goals just 30 seconds apart.

Erickson scored first when he beat Selby Warren with a shot from the right circle just 45 seconds after Pelosi entered the box. Erickson’s 2nd of the season came on a one-time slapshot after receiving a pass from Quinn, just after Gustavs Ozolins delivered the puck to Quinn.

In the 2nd half of the double-minor, the Wilderness worked even quicker as Adam Johnson whistled a wrister that beat Warren on his glove side. Like Erickson, it was also Johnson’s 2nd of the season, and assists went to Donovan O’Neil and Ren Morque.

After a scoreless 2nd period, both teams traded goals in the third.  Minnesota went up 3-2 on its third PPG (6th of the weekend) of the night just six seconds after the penalty clock began ticking. Erickson won the face-off in the left circle and slipped the puck to his right where Joe Cesario quickly fed it to Quinn along the boards near the blue line.  The defenseman from St. Louis then skated to the high slot where he ripped a wrist shot that whipped past Warren’s stick side for his 4th of the season 2:25 into the final period.

Janesville tied the game and forced overtime on a goal from Connor Deturris with 10:56 left in regulation time.

Minnesota outshot the Jets 41-30. Posch finished the game with 27 saves and earned his 2nd straight win—he also was the winning goaltender in Wednesday’s game vs. Chippewa, which also ended in a shootout.

For Saturday’s game, the Wilderness finished 3 for 4 on the power play, capping off a weekend where it converted 6 of 11 man-advantage situations.

After giving up one goal on four chances on the penalty-kill Friday, Minnesota kept Janesville scoreless in its four chances on the power play on Saturday.

Next up for Minnesota will be a home-and-home series with the St. Cloud Norsemen beginning December 2.  The Wilderness will host the Friday opener scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.