Windigo Register Strong Showing at NAHL Showcase – Drew Fisher Scores First Goal in Windigo History

The Wisconsin Windigo opened their North American Hockey League season at the 19th annual NAHL Showcase on Sept. 14-17, 2022, at the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN.  The Showcase, which is one of hockey’s most prominent and popular events of the entire season, has become the ‘Greatest Show on Ice.’  This year’s Showcase attracted over 9,000 people, including more than 300+ professional, college and junior scouts.  The NAHL Showcase is the premier scouting event of its kind, garnering coaches and scouts from every NCAA program and NHL team as they get their first look at some of the best and brightest hockey talent North America has to offer.

North Iowa 5 vs. Wisconsin 0 – Day 1 of the showcase saw the Wisconsin Windigo take on the North Iowa Bulls.  The Windigo struggled to generate offense and find the back of the net as Bulls’ goalie Erik Chaffe stopped all 19 shots he faced. After a scoreless 1st period, North Iowa took control in the 2nd  period with three goals. North Iowa added 2 goals in the 3rd period.  “We got away from the things we have been working on for the last 3 weeks in training camp.  We didn’t move the puck well and didn’t take advantage of our team speed,” commented Head Coach Blake Hietala after the game.  Max Beckford made 24 saves in the loss for the Windigo.

Wisconsin 5 vs. Philadelphia 1 – Wisconsin posted their first NAHL win thanks to balanced scoring and 27 saves from goalie Maxwell Beckford in a 5-1 win over the Rebels. The Windigo found their legs and outskated their opponent, registering 42 shots on Philadelphia’s net. The Windigo led 2-0 after the 1st period on goals from Drew Fisher and Cameron Boche. Fisher’s goal came off a remarkable pass from Victor Widlund, with fellow Swede Albin Sibbesson picking up the other assist.  The lead increased to 3-0 in the 2nd period as Tyler Grahme scored, assisted by Ben Anderson and Cashen Naeve. In the 3rd period, the Rebels made it 3-1 but goals later in the period from Windigo’s Patrick Isiguzo (unassisted) and defenseman Cashen Naeve (assisted by Nick Babbe and Cam Boche) secured the 5-1 win. Coach Hietala was pleased by the team’s effort, “We showed that we can generate offense when we skate the way we are capable.  We have good depth up front with strong defensive core able to generate offense.”

Wisconsin 3 vs. Corpus Christi 2 – Day three of the Showcase saw Wisconsin pick up their second win as they edged the Ice Rays, 3-2, paced by Sam Jacobs scoring the opening goal and assisting on the second. The Windigo’s second goal came off the stick of speedster Zach Cline. The Ice Rays finished the scoring in the first period with a goal from Stepan Kuznetsov. Wisconsin pushed the lead to 3-1 in the 2nd period with a goal from Patrick Isiguzo, his 2nd of the season, with assists to Cam Boche and Chris Kernan. In the 3rd period, the IceRays made it 3-2 on another goal from Kuznetsov. Gavin Moffatt made 28 saves in his first NAHL start for Wisconsin.  “I liked our offensive push today and our ability to gets pucks to the net. With 40 shots on net, I felt like we carried the play much of the game.” said Coach Hietala after the game.

St. Cloud 2 vs. Wisconsin 0 – In the fiercely contested final game of the NAHL Showcase, St. Cloud edged the Windigo 2-0 by clinching the game with an empty net goal with 1:11 remaining on the clock.  Norsemen goalie Will Ingemann stopped all 28 shots and Windigo goalie Max Beckford was nearly equal to the task – stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced.   Aggressive play was the name of the day, as the teams were whistled for 15 penalties combined.  After a scoreless 1st period, the Norsemen went ahead 1-0 in the 2nd period with a power play goal from Hogan Sinjem.  According to Hietala, “We skated with the Norsemen all game, but struggled with their aggressive penalty killing style. We had our chances but weren’t able to cash in on them.”

Upcoming Home Opening Weekend – The Windigo host the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24.  The games mark the historic home opening weekend for NAHL hockey at the Dome in Eagle River, WI.  Fairbanks brings a 4-win and 2-loss record into the game, evidence of the traditionally strong teams fielded by Fairbanks over the last several years.  The Windigo are hosting a tailgate party at beginning at 5pm and puck drop is at 7pm both nights.  Tickets can be purchased at https://www.wisconsinjuniorhockey.com/tickets. General admission is $10 and reserved section access is $15.