In its final home ga ,me of the 2022-23 regular season, the Minnesota Wilderness decided eight was enough. A losing streak versus the Wisconsin Windigo that stretched to eight games after Thursday night’s 1-0 Wisconsin victory ended Friday night, as the Wilderness pulled off a 3-2 triumph.
The Wilderness registered goals in each period, with Kevin Marx Norén, Oliver Stümpel and Sawyer Scholl each lighting the lamp. Goaltender Isak Posch also made history by tying the team’s regular season wins record at 24, making 25 saves on 27 shots.
Ben Anderson and Connor Mahony each found the back of the net for Wisconsin, who clinched first place in the Midwest Division’s regular season with Thursday’s win. Thanks to Friday’s victory, the Wilderness will not fall below 2nd place in the division, guaranteeing home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The two squads opened the scoring with goals near the end of period 1.
Wisconsin would strike first. Anderson broke into Minnesota territory on the right wing and fired a wrist shot that zipped past Posch’s glove side with 3:52 remaining.
The Wilderness responded just 1:48 later.
Beau Janzig and Brian Lonergan helped set up the tying goal with some fancy puck management and dangling along the blue line in the Wisconsin zone. The two defensemen traded the puck back and forth for about 9 seconds which drew the attention of two Windigo back-checkers. Finally, Lonergan found an opening to fire a wrist shot that Marx Norén tipped to send the puck into the net just beneath the glove of Wisconsin goaltender Gavin Moffatt. The goal is Marx Norén 31st of the season, with 30 of those coming with the Wilderness—leaving him one tally shy of equaling the team’s single-season record (set by Darian Romanko in 2014-15).
Minnesota claimed its first lead of the game early in the 2nd period on the power play. Stümpel posted his 10th of the season thanks to a wrister from the right circle. Michael Quinn and Gustavs Ozolins each recorded assists on the goal which came 3:11 into the middle frame.
The Wilderness would then make it 3-1 thanks to Scholl taking advantage of a turnover at the Windigo blue line. Along the right wing boards, Scholl swept his stick to take the puck away from defenseman Sam Groebner, and skated in on goal where he slipped the puck through Moffatt’s 5-hole with 12:21 left in the final period.
Scholl’s 12th of the season ended up being the winning goal, despite Wisconsin taking just 26 seconds to respond. Mahoney’s marker came on the power play on a shot from the high slot with 11:55 left.
Minnesota outshot the Windigo, 29-27. Both teams scored once on the power play, with Minnesota (33-18-7) going one-for-two, and Wisconsin (37-18-3) finishing one-for-four.
The win improved Posch’s record to 24-13-6.
Minnesota closes out the regular season next weekend with Friday and Saturday night contests in Chippewa Falls, WI, vs. the Chippewa Steel.