Wilderness Get Another Chance for First Win in Eagle River

Who:  Minnesota Wilderness vs. Wisconsin Windigo

When: Feb. 17-18; 7:00 p.m. each night

Where:  Eagle River Sports Arena, Eagle River, WI

The lead:  The Minnesota Wilderness seek to hang on to the Midwest Division’s top spot at 2nd place Wisconsin.

Media:  All of the action can be seen on Hockeytv.com.

Records:  Wisconsin: 24-15-3; Minnesota: 23-13-6

Midwest Division standings

Team Points Games played
1 Minnesota 52 42
2 Wisconsin 51 42
3 Fairbanks 50 43
4 Janesville 47 42
5 Chippewa 44 41
5 Kenai River 44 43
5 Anchorage 44 42
8 Springfield 39 41

Last weekend:

  • Minnesota was off on the weekend of Feb. 10-11. On Feb. 2-4, the Wilderness played 3 games, first beating Fairbanks in overtime, 5-4, before falling twice to Wisconsin, 5-2 and 4-3 in a shootout.
  • Wisconsin split a pair of home games vs. Anchorage on Feb. 9-10, beginning with a 9-3 triumph over the Wolverines on Thursday, followed by a 2-1 shootout loss on Friday.

 Season series: After the Wilderness won the season’s first matchup on Oct. 7 in Cloquet, 4-0, the series has been all Windigo.  Wisconsin has won five straight vs Minnesota, beginning with a 4-3 OT win on Oct. 8.  That run continued in the first meeting between the two squads in Eagle River, where the Windigo posted 3-0 and 4-3 victories on Jan. 13-14. The most recent matchups were Feb. 2-3 in Cloquet, in which Wisconsin swept 5-2 and 4-3 in a shootout.

 Liebaert Birthday: Defenseman Carson Liebaert celebrates a birthday on Feb. 16. The rookie from Rosemount, MN, turns 19.  Liebaert has played in all seven of the team’s games since making his debut at Chippewa on Jan. 20.

 Gunnar 100th: Gunnar Thoreson’s assist on Charlie Erickson’s power play goal on Feb. 4 allowed him to reach the 100 regular season point mark for his junior hockey career. The three-year veteran becomes just the fifth player in Wilderness history to hit triple digits in points, joining Darian Romanko, Aaron Miller, Luke Dow and Nate Horn. Thoreson’s 100 points (33 goals, 67 assists) tie him with Horn and Miller for third all time, and place him within 12 of tying Dow’s franchise record of 112 career points.

 Special Teams Update: On Feb. 4, the Wilderness special teams had its best game since the calendar turned to 2023. The power play connected twice on three chances, giving the team its first game with multiple goals on the man-advantage since Dec. 17.  The penalty kill was also strong, keeping Wisconsin scoreless on three opportunities.

 Marx Norén’s Point Boost: After recording five points over three games Feb. 2-4, forward Kevin Marx Norén is now averaging better than a point per game on the season. With 21 goals and 20 assists, Marx Norén now leads the team with 41 points over 40 games.  20 of his 21 goals have been scored while with the Wilderness, and after scoring his 20th goal in his 39th game, it puts him on a pace similar to that which Darian Romanko maintained during the 2014-15 season.  That year, Romanko scored his 20th goal in game 37, and finished the year with 31 tallies, setting the franchise’s current single-season goal scoring record.

 Gordon, Quinn Produce at TPT: Two of the five players representing the Minnesota Wilderness generated points at the Top Prospects Tournament held Feb. 6-7 in Pittsburgh, PA. Forward Cole Gordon and defenseman Michael Quinn combined for three points over the two games for Team Midwest. Gordon scored the lone goal of the Minnesota contingent—a short-handed tally vs. Team South on Feb. 6, while Quinn recorded one assist in each of the games to finish the tournament with two points.  The pair went to the tournament with forwards Kevin Marx Norén and Reid Daavettila, along with defenseman Severi Sulonen – who has since been traded to St. Cloud.

 Windigo Notes – Martin Makes Maximum Mark:  Forward Max Martin has made a massive impact since joining the Windigo on Dec. 30.  In his 18 games, Martin has averaged 1.38 pts per game, with 6 goals and 12 assists for 18 points.  That is a considerable improvement compared to the 27 games Martin skated for his previous team, the Minot Minotauros, where he put up 12 points – on 4 goals and 8 assists. With Wisconsin, the Tawas City, MI, forward has points in all but two games, helping the Windigo go 15-2-1, and move within a point of first place in the Midwest Division.