Who: Minnesota Wilderness at Springfield Jr. Blues
When: Dec..16, 7:05 p.m. CDT and Dec. 17, 6:05 p.m. CDT
Where: Nelson Center, Springfield, IL
The lead: The Minnesota Wilderness finishes its 2022 portion of the schedule with the season’s first trip to Springfield.
Media: All of the action can be seen on Hockeytv.com.
Records: Springfield: 12-14; Minnesota: 17-9-3
Midwest Division standings
Springfield split a series in Eagle River, WI, vs. the Wisconsin Windigo. The Jr. Blues notched a shootout win on Dec. 9, 3-2, and then dropped the series closer Dec. 10, 4-1.
Minnesota played three games last weekend. On Dec. 9, in Chippewa Falls, the Chippewa Steel skated to a 4-3 shootout win over Minnesota. The Wilderness followed that by splitting a pair in Janesville; the Wilderness took the Dec. 10 game, 4-0, and followed that with a 7-3 loss on Dec. 11.
Season series: Minnesota and Springfield faced each other in one other series this season. Each team scored a win on the weekend of Oct. 21-22. The Jr. Blues triumphed in the Friday game, 1-0, while the Wilderness countered by winning 2-0 on Saturday. They are scheduled to play each other four more times this season after this weekend.
Late December Birthday: Defenseman Brian Lonergan will get to blow out candles on Dec. 28. The Montvale, NJ, native will turn 17.
Seven Down: The seven goals allowed vs. Janesville Sunday afternoon is a single game high for Minnesota this season. The Jets were able to run the score up thanks in part to two empty net goals in the third period. Prior to Sunday, the most goals the Wilderness had allowed this season was the six Fairbanks scored in the season-opener. Minnesota still holds the Midwest Division’s lowest goals against per game average of 2.38.
The Will to Quinn: Michael Quinn is on his second 4-game point streak of the season. After a 2-point game at St. Cloud on Dec. 3, Quinn posted one point in each of the games last weekend. In his latest 4-game stretch, the native of St. Louis, MO, has one goal and four assists. His previous streak stretched to five games before it eventually snapped.
Good Knight: Calvin Knight’s goal on Dec. 9 at Chippewa means every Wilderness forward who has been in the lineup at least 20 games this season has lit the lamp at least once. It was the first goal for the Evergreen, CO, native since he scored in last season’s playoffs vs. Fairbanks. His tally leaves only Blake Stafford and Hayden DeMars as the only two Wilderness forwards to not yet register a goal this season. Donovan O’Neil has also not yet stretched twine for Minnesota, although he did score five in the 11 games he played with El Paso prior to coming to Cloquet.
Blue Notes: A youth movement is leading Springfield’s scoring statistics. All three of the team’s top scorers are eligible to play two more seasons of Jr. hockey after this year, and none are older than 18. 17-year-old Tyler Borgula leads the Jr. Blues with 11 goals and 20 points over 26 games. He is followed by 18-year olds Cole Lonsdale (18 points in 20 games) and Nikita Nikora (17 points in 26 games).