Who: Minnesota Wilderness vs. Chippewa Steel
When: March 17-18; 7:15 p.m. each night
Where: Northwoods Credit Union Arena, Cloquet, MN
The lead: The Minnesota Wilderness, winners of five straight, will look to extend its winning streak vs. the Chippewa Steel, winners of four straight.
Media: All of the action can be seen on Hockeytv.com.
Records: Chippewa: 26-21-2; Minnesota: 28-15-7
Midwest Division standings
- Chippewa gained a pair of victories on the road at Springfield, 3-2 (SO), on Friday, and 4-2, on Saturday.
- The Wilderness swept a series in Anchorage, beating the Wolverines, 4-2, on Friday, and 6-2, on Saturday.
Season series: These will be the seventh and eighth meetings of the season between Minnesota and Chippewa. Of the previous six, the Wilderness won four: 4-3 (OT) on Nov 18 in Chippewa Falls, 2-1 (SO) on Nov. 23 in Cloquet, 4-3 on Jan. 20 in Chippewa Falls and 2-1 on Jan. 21 in Cloquet. The Steel won two games at home: 5-2 on Nov. 25, and 4-3 (SO) on Dec. 9. The two squads will close out the season series April 14-15 in Chippewa Falls.
Birthday: Gunnar Thoreson 3/19 (21)
Thoreson Record Watch: Forward Gunnar Thoreson’s two points, with a goal and an assist, last weekend moved him a bit closer to Luke Dow’s records for career points and assists and is within striking distance of games played.
|Category||Record Holder||Record||Thoreson Total|
|Games played||Luke Dow||158||155|
|Goals||Darian Romanko||51||35 (4th all time)|
Posch Hits Milestone: Goaltender Isak Posch on Saturday joined a club that has not had a new member since 2015. In the 6-2 victory over Anchorage, Posch posted his 20th win, and became only the third Wilderness netminder to win 20 or more games in a single season. Kasimir Kaskisuo (21 wins in 2013-14) and Ryan Anderson (24 wins in 2014-15) were the first two to reach the 20-win mark.
Wilderness Post Rare Back-to-Back SOW Winners: Forward Sawyer Scholl following Isak Posch as Bauer Midwest Division Star of the Week gave the Wilderness consecutive winners of the award for the first time this season. It marks the fifth time in team history the team represented two straight SOW winners, and first since the September/October of last season. Gunnar Thoreson and Ethan Wolthers were back-to-back winners for weeks ending Sept 26 and Oct. 3, 2021, respectively.
Alaska Ascending: This marks the 2nd consecutive season the Wilderness had a successful Alaska trip to kick off an end-of-regular-season stretch. Last season, the squad went 5-1 in six games in the 49th state—3 vs. Anchorage and 3 vs. Kenai River. This season, the Wilderness only played 4 games (2 vs. the same opponents), but won all of them, completing an undefeated Alaska trip for the first time in team history. Saturday also clinched a season sweep of the 6-game series vs. Anchorage.
Affiliates Join: The Wilderness will have two players fresh off appearances in the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament on its roster this weekend vs. Chippewa. Defenseman Simon Houge of Cretin-Derham Hall and forward Ashton Dahms of Lakeville South have each joined the team as affiliate players. Both players are seniors at their respective high schools. Dahms finished 2nd in goals for Lakeville South with 26, and third in points with 47. Houge led Cretin-Derham Hall in assists with 34, and led all Raider defensemen in scoring with 37 points. Cretin-Derham Hall upset Maple Grove, 3-1, in the quarter-final round before falling to Edina, 4-1, in the semi-finals of the Class AA bracket. Lakeville South also participated in Class AA, and was eliminated by Andover, 5-2 in the quarter-finals.
Steel Notes: Sam Rice has played a big part in helping Chippewa extend its winning streak over the last three games. The forward from Prior Lake, MN, has posted 1 goal and six assists in a win over Janesville and a sweep of Springfield. For his efforts last weekend vs. Springfield, Rice was named the Midwest Division’s 2nd Star of the Week. Rice and Kade Neilson are tied for the Steel lead in points with 46.