Wilderness and Jets Kick Off Four Straight with Series in Cloquet

Who:  Minnesota Wilderness vs. Janesville Jets

When: March 24-25; 7:15 p.m. each night

Where: Northwoods Credit Union Arena, Cloquet, MN

The lead: The Minnesota Wilderness and Janesville Jets begin to close out their regular season series with four straight games, with the first two this weekend in Cloquet.

Media:  All of the action can be seen on Hockeytv.com.

Records:  Janesville: 22-23-9; Minnesota: 29-16-7

Midwest Division standings

Team Points Games played
1 Wisconsin 69 52
2 Minnesota 65 52
3 Fairbanks 58 54
4 Chippewa 57 51
4 Kenai River 57 52
6 Anchorage 53 50
7 Janesville 53 54
8 Springfield 48 51

Last weekend:

  • Janesville dropped a pair in Eagle River, WI, vs. the Wisconsin Windigo, 10-2 and 6-1
  • The Wilderness split a home series vs. Chippewa, with the Steel winning 2-1 on Friday, and the Wilderness winning by the same score in a shootout on Saturday.

 Season series: These will be the fifth and sixth meetings of the season between Minnesota and Janesville.  Of the previous four, the Wilderness won three. Minnesota swept a series in Cloquet on Nov. 25-26 by identical 4-3 scores, with the Saturday contest ending in a shootout.  In Janesville on Dec. 10-11, Minnesota won game 1, 4-0, and Janesville took game 2, 7-3. The two squads will close out the season-series next weekend with two games in Janesville.

Birthdays: Evan Pahos: 3/24 (20) and Michael Quinn: 3/25 (20)

 Magic Number: Minnesota’s magic number to make the playoffs is now down to 9.  The number is determined by the number of points currently held by Kenai River and the maximum number of points it could potentially earn this season.  The Brown Bears are currently tied for 4th in the Midwest Division, but due to Chippewa winning a tie breaker, Kenai is considered the 5th place team, and only four teams in the division make the playoffs.  With every Wilderness victory or Kenai regulation loss, the magic number will drop by 2.  For every Wilderness or Kenai overtime/shootout loss, that number will drop by 1.

 Thoreson Record Watch:  Forward Gunnar Thoreson failed to register a point last weekend, but did skate in both games, and will tie Luke Dow in regular season games played in a Wilderness uniform the next time he is in the lineup.

Category Record Holder Record Thoreson Total
Games played Luke Dow 158 157
Points Luke Dow 112 106
Goals Darian Romanko 51 35 (4th all time)
Assists Luke Dow 82 71

Working OT: By going to overtime Saturday, the Wilderness set a new single-season record for number of games that have gone beyond regulation time. Minnesota has now gone to overtime 16 times this season, which breaks the record of 15 set during the 2019-20 season.  Those 16 have been divided evenly among games that have finished in either overtime or a shootout.  Saturday’s contest was the team’s eighth to move into a shootout, and the Wilderness have won four shootout games thus far. When finishing in OT, the Wilderness are 5-3.

First to Score, First In our Hearts: After scoring the opening goals in both games this weekend, the Wilderness have now scored first in nine straight games.  Over that span, Minnesota has a record of 6-1-2.  The last time the Wilderness failed to gain the game’s first lead was on Feb. 17, a 3-0 loss to Wisconsin.

Oliver Got More:  Oliver Stümpel returned to the lineup Saturday after missing four games due to injury and picked up right where he left off.  An injury suffered at the very end of the contest March 3 at Kenai River kept the forward from Torrance, CA, out until Saturday’s game.  Stümpel made the most of his re-entry by scoring Minnesota’s lone goal in regulation time Saturday. That goal was Stümpel’s eighth of the season, and it extended his point streak to four games.

Jet Commitments: The Janesville Jets have announced two players have made college commitments to Division 1 NCAA institutions this month.  The first is Charlie Lieberman, who is headed to skate for UMass. Lieberman is a 19-year-old defenseman from Naperville, IL in his first season of Jr. hockey.  Meanwhile, Josh Orrico announced this week that he will play his college hockey for the University of Michigan.  Orrico is also a 19-year old defenseman, who hails from Vaughn, ONT.

Parker Mabbett is a third Jet to announce his college commitment during the month of March.  The 21-year-old forward has pledged to play for Division 3 Salve Regina University, based in Newport, RI.