Who: Minnesota Wilderness vs. Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Wisconsin Windigo
When: vs. Fairbanks, Feb. 2; vs. Wisconsin, Feb. 3-4; 7:15 p.m. each night
Where: Northwoods Credit Union Arena, Cloquet, MN
The lead: The Minnesota Wilderness faces a crucial test when it meets two of the Midwest Division’s top four squads over 3-games, beginning with a battle for first place with Fairbanks.
Media: All of the action can be seen on Hockeytv.com.
Records: Fairbanks: 23-15-3; Wisconsin: 21-15-2; Minnesota: 22-12-5
Midwest Division standings
- Minnesota split a pair of close games at Springfield, edging the Jr. Blues on Jan. 27, 2-1, and then falling 4-3 in OT on Jan. 28.
- Fairbanks split its road series vs. Anchorage, winning on Jan. 27, 5-2, before the Wolverines secured a W on Jan. 28, 6-3.
- Wisconsin failed to get a point over two games at Kenai River, with the Brown Bears prevailing, 3-2 and 3-1.
- Fairbanks: The Ice Dogs won three of four previous contests vs. Minnesota. Fairbanks swept a series in Cloquet on the opening weekend for both squads on Sept. 9-10, 6-2 and 3-2. In Fairbanks, the Wilderness claimed a 2-1 win on Nov. 11, while the Ice Dogs countered with a 5-3 victory the next night.
- Wisconsin: Wisconsin has been victorious in three of the four games against Minnesota. The Wilderness shutout the Windigo 4-0 in the opening contest of a series in Cloquet on Oct. 7, while Wisconsin notched a 4-3 overtime win on Oct. 8. In Eagle River, WI, the Windigo swept the Wilderness in a 2-game series, 3-0 and 4-3, on Jan. 13-14.
Cancer Awareness: The games on Feb. 3-4 will comprise the Wilderness’ annual cancer awareness weekend. The team will be wearing special edition purple and black uniforms which will be auctioned off with proceeds going to local cancer support programs.
Thoreson & Marx Norén Streaking: The Wilderness offense continues to be paced by forwards Gunnar Thoreson and Kevin Marx Norén. Both have registered at least one point over Minnesota’s last 5 games. The pair (and Charlie Erickson) has been involved in the team’s last 3 game-winners, and both scored tying goals in Saturday’s overtime loss to Springfield—Thoreson’s coming with an extra attacker with 1:05 left that sent the game to OT.
Posch Assist & Birthday: Goaltender Isak Posch earned his first assist since coming to North America for his Jr. hockey. The native of Umeå, Sweden, assisted on Marx Norén’s 2nd period power play goal in Springfield.
Meanwhile, when Posch next takes to the ice, it will be his first game as a 21-year old. He celebrated his birthday on Jan. 31.
Quinn Returns: Defensemen was back in the Wilderness lineup in both games last weekend. The St. Louis, MO, native missed seven games due to a lower-body injury suffered Dec. 16. Quinn made his mark by assisting on Gunnar Thoreson’s 3rd period goal Saturday night.
Windigo/Ice Dogs Note: Wisconsin and Fairbanks will be sending a combined total of six players to next week’s Top Prospects Tournament. Three Ice Dog forwards will be joining the Midwest Division squad. They include McCabe Dvorak of Minneapolis, MN, Tyler Herzberg of Germantown, WI, and Brady Welsch of Fond du Lac, WI. They’ll be joined by their head coach, as Dave Allison will serve as the Midwest Division’s assistant coach under Wilderness bench boss Brett Skinner.
Wisconsin’s contingent features two forwards on the Midwest Division team — Luke Levandowski of Rosemount, MN, and Ben Anderson of Crystal, MN – plus a goaltender on the East Division team – Gavin Moffatt of Darien, CT.