A tight-checking battle between the top two squads in the Midwest Division went the way of the Wisconsin Windigo Friday night, as it defeated the Minnesota Wilderness, 3-0.
That result allows the Windigo to swap places with the Wilderness in the Midwest Division, with Wisconsin taking over first place and dropping the Wilderness to second by just one point.
The two squads combined for a total of 41 shots on goal, as they applied a defensive style that severely limited offensive opportunities. After a first period where the Wilderness outshot Wisconsin by a 4-to-2 count, things picked up in the second. The Windigo kept the shot count even at 8 in the middle frame, and cashed in for the contest’s first goal at 7:23 on a tally by Zach Burfoot.
Wisconsin held onto that 1-0 lead through the end of the middle frame, with goaltender Max Beckford playing a significant factor. The veteran netminder made the game’s biggest save when he denied Hunter Bulger on a point blank chance with a glove save after Bulger received a pinpoint pass from Evan Pahos.
The Wilderness also failed to cash in on a 57 second 5-on-3 opportunity early in the third period.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin managed to stretch its lead to 2-0 when Everett Pietila whipped a shot past Isak Posch with 3:26 left in the final frame. The Windigo then sealed the victory with an empty-net goal 1:15 later by Will Schumacher.
Beckford earned the win with 20 saves and remained unbeaten vs. Minnesota in four games. Posch took the loss, making 18 saves on 20 shots.
The Wilderness will get a chance Saturday night to break a losing streak versus Wisconsin that has now reached six games. Puck drop in Eagle River is set for 7:00 p.m.