Power Play Propels Wilderness to Game 1 Win in Springfield

On a week where the Minnesota Wilderness dealt with a short week of practice and had to travel through stormy conditions on a 10-hour trip, the team came out un-fazed Friday night in a 3-1 victory over the Springfield Jr. Blues.

Power play goals from Michael Quinn and Donovan O’Neil proved to be the difference in the game. Quinn broke a 1-1 tie 6:27 into the 2nd on a one-time shot from the left face-off circle for his 6th goal of the season. Severi Sulonen and Charlie Erickson assisted on the goal, which extended point streaks for all 3 players—Quinn with a streak of points in five straight, Sulonen with assists in three straight, and Erickson with points in three consecutive.

O’Neil’s goal in the third period was also from the right circle.  Kevin Marx Norén helped set up the play by collecting a rebound and sending the puck to Ren Morque in the high slot, who then delivered a pass to O’Neil.  The veteran forward responded by whipping the puck past goaltender Aksel Reid to give Minnesota (18-9-3) the game’s first 2-goal lead.  It’s the sixth of the season for the Duxbury, MA, native and first since he was acquired by Minnesota from the El Paso Rhinos 14 games ago.

The assist for Marx Norén was his 2nd of the game.  The veteran from Knivsta, Sweden, also helped set up the game’s first goal.  Gunnar Thoreson gave the Wilderness a 1-0 lead after Marx Norén and Blake Stafford combined to feed Minnesota’s co-captain the puck in the left face-off circle.  Thoreson beat Reid on a shot high on the glove side for this fifth of the season.

Cole Lonsdale deposited the lone goal for Springfield (12-15), which tied the game at one, 30 seconds into the 2nd period.

Isak Posch stood strong, making 26 saves on 27 shots, and improved his record to 11-7-2 on the season.

Reid finished with 28 saves on 31 shots.

Minnesota’s two power-play tallies were on four chances, while Springfield was held scoreless on one opportunity.

The game came five days after Minnesota’s last contest, which was last Sunday in Janesville.  The Wilderness followed with two days of practice and could not practice Thursday due to heavy now in Cloquet prior to beginning their bus trip to Springfield.

Game 2 in the series and the final contest for both squads in 2022 is set for 6:05 Saturday night.