Anchorage, Alaska | 3/11/22 | Isaac Smoldon
In Thursday night’s game Anchorage was robbed multiple times by a seemingly impregnatable wall in Matthew Smith. On Friday, the Wolverines scored four goals to beat Minnesota handily, dominating play for much of the game. They were backstopped by a strong performance from Raythan Robbins, who made 38 saves on 39 shots in the 4-1 win over the Wilderness. Both teams play again Saturday, in a matchup that will undoubtedly have an impact on who makes it to the Midwest division playoffs in just over a month.
Anchorage started the scoring early in the 1st, with Talon Sigurdson laying a hit on the blueline that turned into a breakaway for the Wolverines’ leading goal scorer, which he buried for his first of the weekend. Halfway through the period, Drake Albers scored on the powerplay to give Anchorage a multi-goal lead, and 13 saves from Raythan Robbins allowed the Wolverines to carry that lead into the 2nd.
The next period wouldn’t treat Minnesota much better, as Jackson Reinke and Clay Allen scored two goals at the 11:21 and 14:42 marks respectively, to put Anchorage up 4-0. A late goal from Haden Kruse made it just a three-goal lead at the period’s end, but Anchorage was still very much in control going into the final frame.
The last period was low event, barring the numerous penalties called, as both teams carried over the chippy play from Thursday night. However, a strong kill from the Wolverines, and a perfect 14 save period from Robbins meant that Anchorage won comfortably, by a final score of 4-1.
Anchorage is now three points ahead of the Wilderness in the Midwest division standings, and only one point behind the third place Janesville Jets, with a game in hand on both teams. Saturday’s game against Minnesota remains critical to the playoff race, as the Wolverines try to hold onto a playoff berth late in the regular season.
Saturday is also the last game of “The Office” themed weekend that Anchorage is putting on over the course of this series. There will be a “The Office” costume contest, and a skate with the Wolverines following the game. Also, every game worn specialty jersey worn by the Wolverines this weekend is being auctioned off, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. The link to the online auction can be found on anchoragewolverines.com, along with tickets to Saturday’s game, which takes play at the Ben at 7PM AKST.