Wilderness Knock Off Anchorage for 4th Straight Win

Sawyer Scholl scored twice and added an assist in leading the Minnesota Wilderness to a 4-2 triumph over the Anchorage Wolverines Friday night.

Gunnar Thoreson also added a goal and an assist, while goaltender Nik Erickson made 23 saves to earn his first victory in a Wilderness uniform.

Minnesota dominated the first period, outshooting the Wolverines 12-2, while gaining the contest’s first lead.  Scholl opened the scoring when he collected the puck after a shot by Evan Pahos ricocheted off the end boards.  Scholl then fired the puck into the net off the skate of goaltender Shane Soderwall for his first of the night.  Thoreson also assisted on the goal at 11:12 when he fed the puck to Pahos with a saucer pass from the left boards.

The Wilderness followed by scoring three times in the 2nd period to extend its lead to 4-0.  Scholl scored his 2nd of the game, and 10th of the season 7:55 into the frame.  The forward from Medford, WI, did it all himself when he forced a turnover at center ice, then gained possession, skated into the Anchorage zone and used a screen to beat Soderwall with a shot from the right circle.

Thoreson made it a 3-goal lead when he lit the lamp off a rebound of Nicholas Haviar’s shot with 4:24 left in the middle stanza.  Michael Quinn also assisted on Thoreson’s 11th of the season.

Kevin Marx Norén added one more in the 2nd when he recorded a power play goal with 1:04 left in the period.  Scholl set up the play when he delivered a pass to Marx Norén as he was positioned directly in front of the Anchorage net. The forward from Knivsta, Sweden, then smoothly tossed the puck in on the goaltender’s stick side for his team-leading 24th of the campaign—which was also assisted by Gustavs Ozolins.

An Anchorage come back attempt led to two goals for the home team in the third, one from Layten Liffrig 2:13 into the frame, and another from Aiden Westin with 3:14 remaining, but the rest of their attempts were held off by Erickson.

The Wolverines applied constant pressure in the Wilderness zone over the final 90 seconds after pulling its netminder for an extra attacker, but could not close the gap any further.  Erickson came up big when needed, including denying Peyton Van Buskirk on a drive from the left face-off circle that Erickson contained in his mid-section.

Anchorage had appeared to score a goal in the 2nd period that would have made the score 2-1.  With Erickson forced out of position, Kory Diponio threw the puck into the net on a wraparound that the officials waved off due to goaltender interference.

The win evened Erickson’s record with Minnesota to 1-1 and improved his NAHL mark to 2-1.

The Wilderness (27-15-7) outshot the Wolverines (23-19-7) by a 30-25 count.

On special teams, Minnesota’s penalty-kill staved off Anchorage on only one power play chance it had the entire night, while the Wilderness finished one-for-three with the man-advantage.

The offensive effort for Scholl allowed him to extend his goal streak to 4 games and record his fourth multiple-point contest in his last six.  Since coming to the Wilderness in early February, Scholl is now averaging better than a point-per-game with 8 goals and 4 assists in 10 outings.

Minnesota and Anchorage will close out their regular season series Saturday night, with puck drop at the Ben Boeke Ice Arena set for 7:00 p.m. AK time.