Who: Minnesota Wilderness vs. Oklahoma Warriors
When: May 18 and 19, 4:30 p.m.; If necessary, May 20, 3:00 p.m. (all times CDT)
Where: Fogerty Arena, Blaine, MN
The lead: After capturing the Midwest Division crown last weekend, the reward for the Minnesota Wilderness is the top overall seed in the NAHL Robertson Cup playoffs—the South Division champions, the Oklahoma Warriors.
Media: All of the action can be seen on Hockeytv.com.
Regular Season Records: Oklahoma: 44-14-2; Minnesota: 35-18-7
Series Format: Best 2-out-of-3
Other Semifinal series: The 3-seed Austin Bruins, the champions of the Central Division, will take on the 2-seed Maryland Black Bears, who won the East Division title.
What’s Next: The winners of the two semifinal series will meet in a one-game, winner-take-all championship on Tuesday, May 23 in Blaine, MN.
Last weekend: Oklahoma needed just one win to capture the South title. In game 3 of the division finals, the Warriors defeated the Shreveport Mudbugs, 2-1 in double OT to claim the series 3-games to none.
The Wilderness entered its weekend tied 1-1 with the Wisconsin Windigo in the Midwest Division Finals, and swept the two home games to win its first division crown since 2015. The Wilderness won game 3, Friday night, 5-1 and game 4, Saturday night, 5-3.
- Michael Quinn’s two assists May 13 give him eight points in this post-season, which sets a new single-season franchise playoff record for points by a defenseman (Louie Roehl set the prior record of 7 points in 2016). Quinn’s three goals have also tied the club’s playoff mark for career playoff goals—drawing even with the record first set by Cole Crusberg-Roseen in the 2022 playoffs.
- Adam Johnson also tied a team franchise post-season record with his two short-handed goals scored in Round 2. Dan Litchke first set the team’s SHG mark during the 2015 playoffs.
Series History: These will mark the first meetings ever between the Wilderness and Warriors.
Goals for/Against Breakdown: The Wilderness and Warriors have each allowed 10 goals throughout the post-season, which is the lowest of the four teams in the Fogerty Four. However, due to the Wilderness having played one more game, it holds the lowest average goals against among the teams still alive at 1.42, compared to 1.55 for Oklahoma.
In goals for, Oklahoma has scored 26, which is third among all playoff teams, compared to 20 for Minnesota, which is fifth.
Special Teams Matchups: PP: Minnesota: 6 for 27: 22.2% (6th); Oklahoma: 6 for 22: 27.3% (5th).
PK: Minnesota: 21 for 22, 95.5% (3rd); Oklahoma: 16 for 18 88.9%.
The Wilderness leads the league in short-handed playoff goals with three.
Round 2: PP: Minnesota: 3 for 18 (16.7%); Oklahoma 3 for 10 (30%); PK Minnesota: 16 for 17 (94.1%); Oklahoma: 6 for 6 (100%).
Goaltender Matchups: Oklahoma has used both of its goaltenders in the playoffs. Dylan Johnson started all three games in round 1 vs. Amarillo, going 2-0 with a 2.95 GAA, and .877 save percentage. He was replaced in the 2nd period of game 3 by Daniel Duris, who has played the remaining time in the playoffs for the Warriors. Duris is 4-0 and leads all NAHL post-season netminders in GAA (0.75) and save percentage (.969). Johnson is a former Janesville Jet who beat the Wilderness when Minnesota played in Janesville on Dec. 11.
Isak Posch has played all playoff minutes in net for Minnesota. He holds a 6-1 record with his only loss coming in overtime in game 2 of round 2. Posch is one of three goaltenders on teams that qualified for the Robertson Cup to play every minute for his team, with the others being Trent Wiemken of Austin and William Hakansson of Maryland. Posch holds a GAA of 1.42 which is 2nd of all goaltenders still alive in the postseason, while his .952 save percentage is third.
Wilderness backup goaltender Nick Erickson is a former Oklahoma Warrior and has not yet played in the playoffs.
Top Scorers: Forward Drew Sutton leads all Warriors in playoff scoring with 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists).
For the Wilderness, three players are tied at the top with eight points. Forward Kevin Marx Norén leads in goals with five while adding three assists; forward Sawyer Scholl leads in assists with seven, while also scoring one goal; and Quinn leads all defensemen with three goals and five assists.
Warrior Notes: This weekend will mark a return home for the following Minnesotans on the Oklahoma roster: Owen Baumgartner (Owatonna), Joey Delgreco (Grand Rapids), Max Dronen (Moorhead), Garrett Horsager (Rosemount), Hunter Jones (Andover) and Kaden Nelson (Duluth).
Delgreco’s name was mentioned often when the league awards were announced. Delgreco lit up opponents in his 60 games, by putting up 69 points on 22 goals and 47 assists. That earned him several honors including being named the NAHL’s MVP and rookie of the year.