Regular Season Wraps Up with Road Trip to Chippewa

Who:  Minnesota Wilderness vs. Chippewa Steel

When: April 14 and 15; 7:00 p.m. each night

Where: Chippewa Area Ice Arena, Chippewa Falls, WI

The lead: The Minnesota Wilderness and Chippewa Steel meet to close out the 2022-23 campaign and potentially preview an upcoming playoff series.

Media:  All of the action can be seen on

Records:  Chippewa: 31-23-4; Minnesota: 33-18-7

Midwest Division standings

Team Points Games played
1 Wisconsin (y) 77 58
2 Minnesota (x) 73 58
3 Chippewa (x) 66 58
3 Kenai River (x) 66 58
5 Fairbanks 63 60
6 Anchorage 61 58
7 Springfield 55 58
7 Janesville 55 60

x=clinched playoff spot; y=clinched first place

Last weekend:  Chippewa stamped its ticket for the post-season with a 4-1 road win over the Fairbanks Ice Dogs last Saturday night. On the previous night, Fairbanks was victorious, 3-0.

Minnesota split a pair of home contests vs. Wisconsin.  The Windigo prevailed Thursday (April 6), 1-0, while the Wilderness bounced back Friday, 3-2.

Home playoff clinched: Friday’s victory over Wisconsin guarantees the Wilderness will get home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Robertson Cup playoffs. This marks the first time since 2017 Minnesota will have home-ice advantage in a playoff series.  In that 2017 playoff, the Wilderness fell to Aberdeen in five games in the Central Division final. 

Potential Playoff preview: If the playoffs were to start this weekend, the Wilderness and Steel would meet in a first round series. Due to being tied in points and wins with Kenai River, Chippewa would get the third seed because it won the season series over the Brown Bears.

 Season series: Minnesota has won five of the previous eight contests vs. Chippewa, four games finished after regulation, and all but one was within a one-goal margin.

Game # Date Score Location
1 Nov. 18 MNW 4, CHP 3 (OT) Chippewa Falls, WI
2 Nov. 19 CHP 5, MNW 2 Chippewa Falls, WI
3 Nov. 23 MNW 2, CHP 1 (SO) Cloquet, MN
4 Dec. 9 CHP 4, MNW 3 (SO) Chippewa Falls, WI
5 Jan. 20 MNW 4, CHP 3 Chippewa Falls, WI
6 Jan. 21 MNW 2, CHP 1 Cloquet, MN
7 March 17 CHP 2, MNW 1 Cloquet, MN
8 March 18 MNW 2, CHP 1 (SO) Cloquet, MN

 Thoreson/Marx Norén/Posch Record Watch:  Forwards Gunnar Thoreson and Kevin Marx Norén have both begun to set new franchise records this season and have a shot at breaking others. Thoreson is now the team’s leader in career games played, while Marx Norén has set a new single-season power play goal mark.  Goaltender Isak Posch is also re-writing the record book by tying Ryan Anderson’s 2014-15 single-season record of 24, as well as setting new marks in games played (43), minutes played (2567), and shootout victories (4). Below is a look at other records Posch, Thoreson and Marx Norén are in reach of in the final two regular season games.

Player Category Record (current record holder) Player Total (w/Wilderness)
Thoreson Career Points 112 (Luke Dow) 107
Thoreson Career short-handed points 6 (Thoreson & Dan Litchke) 6
Marx Norén Single-season goals 31 (Darian Romanko) 30
Marx Norén Single-season game-winning goals 8 (Jakob Romo) 6
Posch Single-season wins 24 (Posch and Ryan Anderson) 24
Posch Single-season shots against 1269 (Ryan Fanti) 1227
Posch Single-season saves 1165 (Ryan Fanti) 1135

 Top of the Power Play Heap: Marx Norén’s 14 power play tallies are not only the most ever scored in a single season for a Wilderness player, they also lead the entire league for 2022-23.  The native of Knivsta, Sweden, has one more PPG than Rihards Simanovics of Amarillo and four other players with 12.

Steel Notes:

  • Chippewa forward J.J. Grainda announced this month he will play division 1 college hockey at Stonehill College.
  • This season marks the first time the Steel will head to the NAHL playoffs since the franchise moved from La Crosse, WI, (when it was known as the Coulee Region Chill) in 2018-19.