Third Period Rally Dooms Wilderness in Semifinal Opener

A 2-0 Minnesota Wilderness lead going into the latter stages of the third period Saturday night was not enough, as the Oklahoma Warriors fought back to take a 4-2 victory in game 1 of the Robertson Cup Semifinals.

The Warriors scored four times over a 5:47 span to complete the comeback win.  Kaden Nelson first cut the Wilderness lead to one goal when he scored with 6:51 left.  That was followed by a power play marker from Cole Teleki with 4:32 remaining to tie the game before Joey Delgreco finished the scoring with two consecutive tallies, first the game-winner with 3:35 left and then an empty netter with 1:04 remaining.  Owen Baumgartner helped with assists on the goals by Teleki and Delgreco’s first of the game.

Minnesota built its lead with goals in the first and second periods from Michael Quinn and Sawyer Scholl.  Kevin Marx Norén assisted on both markers, while individual assists went to Gustavs Ozolins and Oliver Stümpel.

Quinn’s goal came on the power play when he wristed a shot past Warrior goaltender Daniel Duris with 3:09 left in the opening frame from the left circle.  That gives Quinn four goals in these playoffs, which sets a new franchise record for career post-season markers for a defenseman. It also gives him nine points which ties the team’s career post-season point record, first set by Ivan Chukarov over the 2014 and 2015 playoffs.

Scholl made it 2-0 with his second playoff goal when he brought the puck across on the right side and beat Duris on a shot from the right circle with 34 seconds remaining in the middle frame.

That preceded a third period where Oklahoma outshot the Wilderness 12-5 in its attempt to stage a comeback.  For the game, the Warriors finished with a 37-22 shot advantage.  Isak Posch took the loss in net for Minnesota, making 33 saves.

On the power play, the Wilderness went 1-for-4, while the Warriors succeeded once on three chances.

With Oklahoma leading the best-of-three series, 1 game to none, the two teams will tangle again Saturday in game 2 at 4:30 p.m. at Fogerty Arena in Blaine.  It will mark the first time in the 2023 playoffs that the Wilderness will be facing elimination.  A Minnesota win would force a game 3 on Sunday afternoon, while an Oklahoma victory would move them to the Robertson Cup Final Tuesday evening.