Who: Minnesota Wilderness vs. Springfield Jr. Blues
When: Feb. 24-25; 7:15 p.m. each night
Where: Northwoods Credit Union Arena, Cloquet, MN
The lead: The Minnesota Wilderness attempt to snap a 4-game losing skid this weekend vs. Springfield.
Media: All of the action can be seen on Hockeytv.com.
Records: Springfield: 20-22-1; Minnesota: 23-14-7
Midwest Division standings
- Springfield split a 2-game home series vs. Chippewa Feb. 17-18. The Jr. Blues were victorious Friday, 2-1, before dropping Saturday’s contest, 5-2.
- The Wilderness fell twice on the road at Wisconsin, extending its losing streak to 4 games (0-2-2). The Windigo won by scores of 3-0, Friday, and 6-5 (OT), Saturday.
Season series: Minnesota and Springfield played six games previously this campaign, with each team winning three times. The first series in Cloquet, Oct. 21-22, was a 2-game split—Springfield winning 1-0 and the Wilderness countering 2-0; Minnesota took game 1 of a series in Springfield Dec. 16-17, 3-1, while the Jr. Blues triumphed 5-2 the following night; in the most recent series in Springfield Jan. 27-28, the Wilderness again won Friday, 2-1, followed by a Springfield OT win Saturday, 4-3.
Birthdays: Charlie Erickson: 2/21 (21), Eddie Shepler 2/25 (20)
Thoreson Record Watch: Forward Gunnar Thoreson’s climb up the Wilderness career scoring charts continues. After earning two points 2/18, Thoreson is now tied for 2nd all-time with 102 points, equaling the career totals set by Darian Romanko over 2013-14 and 2014-15. Only Luke Dow has recorded more points in a Wilderness uniform, with 112 compiled from 2016-17 through 2018-19.
Thoreson also sits in the top 5 in goals (34, 5th all time), assists (68, 2nd all time) and regular season games played (149, 3rd all time) for Wilderness career stats.
Newbies Produce: Three of the four new skaters acquired just before the trade deadline got on the scoresheet in Saturday’s game in Eagle River. Forward Sawyer Scholl led the way with two points (1 goal/1 assist), while defenseman Evan Pahos and forward Bo Cosman each posted one assist.
Blue Line Production: The five goals scored Saturday are the most the Wilderness have put up since the team scored nine in its 9-0 victory over St. Cloud on Oct. 29. Contributing to that effort was seven points from defensemen—which also is the most since 10/29. Leading the way were Max Wattvil and Gustavs Ozolins with two assists, while Michael Quinn posted one goal and single assists went to Pahos and Beau Janzig.
Ozolins and Wattvil Impressive Return: The offense provided by Ozolins and Wattvil was especially welcomed with it being the first weekend the pair played after missing a combined total of 26 games. Wattvil returned to the lineup Friday after missing eight games due to an injury suffered in his first game with the Wilderness on Jan. 13. Ozolins first game back was Saturday after missing 18 games due to a one-game suspension, then the remaining 17 games playing for Team Latvia in the World Junior Championship and then recovering from an injury suffered in the WJC.
Quick Consecutive Goals: Forward Adam Johnson also re-entered the Wilderness lineup last weekend after a 6-game injury recovery, and he too made an impact in Saturday’s overtime loss. Johnson scored a first period goal that came just 8 seconds after a goal by Sawyer Scholl—which marked the fastest consecutive goals the Wilderness have scored this season.
Springfield Notes – Broberg wins Star of the Week: Jr. Blues defenseman Marcus Broberg played a huge part in Springfield’s split last weekend vs. Chippewa. The native of Örebro, Sweden, factored in all four of Springfield’s goals, scoring once and assisting on three others. His goal in Friday’s 2-1 Springfield win was his first of the season and the game-winner. For his effort, the NAHL named Broberg the Bauer Midwest Division Star of the Week. Broberg has six points over eight games with the Jr. Blues, and is committed to play in the NCAA with Nebraska-Omaha.