It was a tough outing on the penalty kill for the Minnesota Wilderness as it gave up three goals to the Springfield Jr. Blues in a 5-2 loss Saturday night.
Springfield scored on the power play in each period. Brayden Cook, Isaac Keller and Nikita Nikora all found the back of the net for the Jr. Blues while on the man-advantage.
The first two periods were a back-and-forth battle. After Cook scored to give his squad a 1-0 lead, a giveaway in the offensive zone led to Oliver Stümpel finding the back of the net with 5:34 remaining in the opening frame to tie the game for Minnesota. It was the fifth goal for the Torrance, CA, native, who was playing in his second game since returning from an injury that kept him out since Nov. 6. Kevin Marx Norén assisted on the goal.
Marx Norén found the back of the net himself in the 2nd, just 51 seconds after Noah Marino had scored to temporarily give the lead back to the Jr. Blues. Stümpel helped set up the play when he dealt a pass to Beau Janzig in the high slot. Janzig then ripped a shot that Marx Norén redirected to the top left shelf past goaltender Carson Dorfman for his team-leading 14th tally of the season, and 4th point of the weekend.
After Konrad Kausch was pulled for an extra attacker late in the third, Springfield tacked on one more to seal the victory. Tyler Borgula scored an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining to make it 5-2.
The Wilderness (18-10-3) outshot the Jr. Blues 22-17. With 12 saves, Kausch took the loss to see his record fall to 7-3-1.
Springfield (13-15) went 3-for-4 on the power play, while the Wilderness were scoreless on two chances with the man-advantage.
Minnesota is now off for the next 19 days. They’ll return in 2023 with a home series Jan. 6-7 versus the Kenai River Brown Bears.