Valiant Comeback Falls Short in OT Loss

A goal from Victor Widlund 1:12 into overtime gave the Wisconsin Windigo a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wilderness in game 2 of the Midwest Division Finals. The Windigo win evens the best-of-5 series at 1-1.

The goal capped off a back-and-forth battle that began with Wisconsin building up a 2-0 lead in the first period before the Wilderness battled back to tie with goals in the 2nd and 3rd frames.

Max Martin scored the first two tallies for Wisconsin, one just 36 seconds into the opening period, and his second with 54 seconds remaining in the first frame.  The second goal created some controversy as it was fired into the net moments after Wilderness netminder Isak Posch nudged the net off its supports when he bumped into the post with his left shoulder.

Minnesota began its comeback late in the 2nd while it was on the penalty kill. Adam Johnson collected the puck in Wilderness territory, skated through center and entered the Windigo zone on a 2-on-1 with Sawyer Scholl. Johnson decided to take the shot himself, and it paid off as he fired the puck in top shelf from the right circle to cut the Wisconsin lead to 2-1. Michael Quinn assisted on the goal, which was Johnson’s first of the playoffs, and the first short-handed goal for the Wilderness in this post-season.

The Wilderness then tied the game in the third period moments after a power play concluded.  Pressure in front of the Wisconsin net led to Reid Daavettila slipping the puck to Gunnar Thoreson who sent it to Bo Cosman along the right wing boards.  Cosman then fed the puck to Max Wattvil at the right blue line who used the traffic in front as a screen to fire a shot that beat Beckford just beyond his right skate for his first playoff marker.

The closing moments featured more opportunities for both teams to break the 2-2 tie.  Posch made the save of the night when he denied Patrick Isiguzo who broke in on a 2-on-1 rush.  And Beckford got across his crease just in time to keep Kevin Marx Norén from scoring on a back-door play after being set up by Scholl with less than a minute to play in regulation.

Widlund’s game-winner came when a shot from Jon Bell from the right point drew Posch to his left, and the puck ended up being ricocheting toward Widlund in the circle to Posch’s right.  The Swedish forward had a wide open net as a target, and he easily deposited the puck to give Wisconsin the victory.

For the 2nd straight game in this series, neither team had success on the power play, with each squad getting five chances.

The Windigo outshot the Wilderness, 32-26.  Posch suffered his first playoff loss making 29 saves, while Beckford bounced back after his first loss in game 1, making 24 saves.

With the series now tied at one, it now turns into a best-of-three series, with the next two games scheduled for next weekend in Cloquet.  Games 3 and 4 will be next Friday and Saturday nights May 12-13, with puck drop set for 7:15 p.m.  If necessary, a game 5 will be held in Eagle River on Sunday, May 14.