Strong 3rd Period Propels Wilderness Win

A 3-goal 3rd period rally led the Minnesota Wilderness to a 4-1 victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears Friday night.

All three Minnesota goals in the final frame were scored within a 2:44 span.

A slapshot from the left circle from Brian Lonergan broke a 1-1 tie with 11:59 left in the third.  Lonergan’s blast beat Kenai goaltender Nils Wallstrom as he attempted to get back in position after a previous chance from Sawyer Scholl forced him flat on his stomach as he tried to control the puck. Lonergan’s goal was his second of the season and was assisted by Scholl and Oliver Stümpel.

Scholl and Stümpel would also set up the next goal to make it 3-1, which came from a similar position as Lonergan’s. On the power play, Scholl caught Michael Quinn on a soft pass to the left circle that Quinn one-timed past Wallstrom for his 8th of the campaign at the 10:15 mark.

It would take only 30 seconds for the Wilderness to stretch the lead to three.  Reid Daavettila posted his third of the season after catching a pass from Bo Cosman as Daavettila was ready for the pass in the right circle.  Beau Janzig also assisted on the goal.

Isak Posch earned the win in net making 31 saves on 32 shots.  The veteran netminder helped set up the team’s first goal after he made a tremendous save on Kotaro Tsutsumi when the Kenai forward attempted to convert on a 2-on-1 break.  On the transition, the Wilderness responded with Gustavs Ozolins and Kevin Marx Norén helping maneuver the puck to Scholl who hammered it past a screened Wallstrom from the high slot just within the Kenai zone.   Scholl’s marker at 8:54 of the first was his 5th in 8 games with Minnesota.

Scholl ended the game posting three points with one goal and two assists. It’s the 3rd time in the last four games the veteran from Medford, WI, recorded multiple points.

With two assists, Stümpel was able to extend a point streak to three games.

Kenai’s lone goal came on a 2-on-1 that led to Nick Stevens sending the puck past Posch at 11:24 of the opening stanza.

The Brown Bears (25-21-3) outshot Minnesota, 32-28, but it was the Wilderness (25-15-7) who finished with the edge in special teams play.  Minnesota went 1-for-2 on the power play, and kept the Brown Bears scoreless on its two man-advantage situations.

The win is the 2nd straight for the Wilderness, and it moved the team back into a tie with Fairbanks for 2nd place in the Midwest Division.

Kenai and Minnesota will close out the weekend set and their regular season series tomorrow night in Soldotna, AK, with puck drop set for 7:30 AK time.