Anchorage, Alaska | 3/10/22 | Isaac Smoldon
Despite a late goal from Bohdan Panasenko, the Minnesota Wilderness held on to win by a final score of 3-1 on Thursday night against the Anchorage Wolverines. The Wilderness were backstopped by a strong performance from goaltender Matthew Smith, who made 25 saves on 26 shots in the game for Minnesota. The two teams will play each other in two more games this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 7PM AKST.
The first period was controlled by the Wilderness, and their tenacious forecheck was rewarded by a goal just five minutes into the game. Cole Crusberg-Roseen scored his 17th of the year after a shot from the point bounced off an Anchorage defender and into the back of the net. Talon Sigurdson nearly tied the game for the Wolverines later in the period, but a huge glove save from Smith denied Anchorage’s points leader and kept the home team scoreless. Shane Soderwall was peppered by Minnesota for the remainder of the frame, as the Wolverines’ netminder had to make 13 saves on 14 shots to keep it a one goal game going into the 2nd.
Anchorage came out strong in the second period, looking to tie the game at one. Another huge save by Smith stymied the Wolverines’ offense from scoring on the powerplay, as the Wilderness goaltender came across and denied Cameron Morris with an incredible leg pad save. Late in the period, Jared Mangan increased the Minnesota lead, making it a 2-0 game headed into the 3rd.
The Wolverines battled in the final period, but a five-on-three goal from the Wilderness helped put the game away halfway through the frame. Panasenko’s response with six minutes remaining prevented the shutout, but Anchorage couldn’t generate enough offense late in regulation, and Minnesota skated off with a 3-1 win.
Both teams play twice more at the Ben this weekend, with games on Fridy and Saturday taking place at 7PM AKST. As things continue to tighten in the Midwest playoff race, the battles between the two teams continue to be of the utmost importance, with Anchorage just a point ahead of the Wilderness in the standings. Tickets can be bought on anchoragewolverines.com or at the door 30 minutes prior to puck drop.