It was a night full of firsts for the Minnesota Wilderness Friday.
Most importantly, for the team, it was the first win in its Midwest Division Final series vs. the Wisconsin Windigo. Beau Janzig scored the lone goal in the 2nd period and Isak Posch turned aside 26 Wisconsin shots to earn his fourth victory in as many playoff starts.
Other firsts include Posch earning his first playoff shutout, Janzig notching his first playoff goal, the Wilderness winning its first game ever in Eagle River, after going 0-4 vs. the Windigo during the regular season, and beating Wisconsin netminder Max Beckford for the first time this season, after going 0-5 vs. the London, Ont. native, before the playoffs began.
Janzig’s goal came directly off a face-off in the Windigo zone, in the circle to the right of Beckford. Bo Cosman earned the assist by winning the draw and sending the puck directly to Janzig in the high slot. The Hermantown, MN, native responded with a snap shot that zipped between Beckford’s outstretched skate and the right post with 6:45 left in the middle frame.
Posch and the defense were then able to contain the Windigo, as the native of Umeå, Sweden, kept the Windigo off the scoreboard stopping all 26 shots. One of Posch’s more memorable saves came with 7:50 left in the third period when a giveaway along the extended goal line led to a chance directly in front for Wisconsin forward Everett Pietila. Posch kept Pietila from tying the game with a left pad butterfly save.
Both teams were scoreless on the power play. Minnesota finished the night 0-for-5, while Wisconsin could not convert on three chances. Both teams also had 5-on-3 opportunities in the 2nd period that fell short—the Windigo had one for 55 seconds, while Minnesota had its 2-man advantage for 17 seconds.
The Wilderness outshot the Windigo by a 28-26 margin.
The victory gives Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. It also allows the Wilderness to take home-ice advantage away from the Windigo, by virtue of the fact it could close out the series when it shifts to Cloquet next weekend for game 3 and, if necessary, game 4.
Game 2 is set for Saturday night in Eagle River with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m.