Wilderness Head to Janesville with Chance to Clinch Playoff Berth

Who:  Minnesota Wilderness vs. Janesville Jets

When: March 31 and April 1; 7:00 p.m. each night

Where: Janesville Arena, Janesville, WI

The lead: The Minnesota Wilderness hopes to nail down a spot in the 2023 Robertson Cup playoffs this weekend as it visits the Janesville Jets.

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

Records:  Janesville: 22-25-9; Minnesota: 31-16-7

Midwest Division standings

Team Points Games played
1 Wisconsin (x) 71 54
2 Minnesota 69 54
3 Kenai River 61 54
4 Chippewa 60 53
5 Fairbanks 59 56
6 Anchorage 57 53
7 Janesville 53 56
8 Springfield 50 54

X=clinched playoff spot

Last weekend: The Wilderness swept last weekend’s home games vs. Janesville by scores of 3-1 Friday, and 1-0 Saturday.

 Season series: Saturday’s win guaranteed Minnesota will claim the season series vs. the Jets.  In the previous four contests, 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. 

Inching to Clinching: One more win in the final six regular season means the Wilderness gets bonus hockey. Minnesota is just one win away from clinching a berth in the 2023 Robertson Cup playoffs.  The team could also nail down a playoff spot if with two overtime/shootout losses, or if Anchorage suffers one regulation loss or two overtime/shootout defeats.

Thoreson Record Watch:  Forward Gunnar Thoreson has now played more games in a Wilderness uniform than any other.  With a run in the last six games, he could still reach Luke Dow’s records in all-time points and assists.

Category Record Holder Record Thoreson Total
Games played Gunnar Thoreson 159 159
Points Luke Dow 112 106
Assists Luke Dow 82 71

Erickson Shutout: Last Saturday’s 30-save shutout victory for Nik Erickson was not only his first since coming to the Wilderness, it was also the first in his junior career.  The rookie from Apple Valley, MN, began the season with Tri-City of the USHL, where he played 13 games.  Before coming to the Wilderness, Erickson played one game between the pipes for the NAHL’s Oklahoma Warriors.

That shutout marked the sixth for the Wilderness this season.  Isak Posch leads with three, while Konrad Kausch blanked teams twice in the 13 games he played with Minnesota.

Posch Approaches Wins Record: Posch’s victory Friday night moved him ahead of Kasimir Kaskisuo’s regular season win total from 2013-14.  The Umeå, Sweden, native notched his 22nd win, which is the 2nd highest number of victories a Wilderness goaltender has posted in a regular campaign.  Posch now sits two wins behind Ryan Anderson’s record of 24 victories.

Jet Notes:  While the Jets and Wilderness will close out their regular season series this weekend, Janesville will be the focus of much of the hockey world next weekend.  The Jets announced this week that the team will make history as the first in American Tier I or Tier II junior hockey to start a female goaltender. Annelies Bergmann is expected to get the nod in net for the team’s contest April 7 vs. Springfield. Bergmann, a 16-year-old from Lancaster, PA, spent this season with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies boys U-18 AAA squad and posted a record of 16-9 with a 2.08 GAA and .945 save percentage. She is committed to play NCAA women’s hockey with Cornell.