Coming off a weekend sweep at Midwest Division rival Minnesota Wilderness, the Windigo were looking for another opportunity to climb in the standings. They did just that by taking 3 of 4 available points from the visiting Anchorage Wolverines. The win on Thursday, and the point awarded by virtue of the overtime shootout loss on Friday, propelled the Windigo second place in the Midwest Division, just 1 point behind the Wilderness, setting up a huge showdown at the Dome in Eagle River on February 17-18.
Thursday, February 9: Anchorage Wolverines 3 @ Wisconsin Windigo 9: The Windigo moved into a tie for 2nd place in the Midwest Division thanks to a 9-3 home win over Anchorage. Zachary Burfoot and Axel Begley each had two goals and an assist in the win. Wisconsin jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the 1st period thanks to two goals from Begley, while Trent Powell scored for Anchorage. Powell would again score for Anchorage in the 2nd period, but the Windigo would answer with four goals from Luke Levandowski, Samuel Jacobs, Chris Kernan, and Burfoot to take a 6-2 lead. In the 3rd period, the Windigo scored three more times on goals from Drew Fisher, Max Martin, and another from Burfoot. Fedya Nikolayenya had the other goal for Anchorage. Maxwell Beckford made 26 saves in the win, while Eino Rissanen made 28 saves in the loss. (Game summary provided by the NAHL).
Friday, February 10: Anchorage Wolverines 2 @ Wisconsin Windigo 1 (OT-Shootout): The Wolverines picked up a much needed two points Friday night, snapping a three-game losing skid after winning 2-1 in the shootout over Wisconsin. Anchorage’s Joe Cesario broke the deadlock with his 15th goal of the season 19:36 into the opening frame. The Windigo wouldn’t even score until the 3:22 mark left in the final frame when Zachary Burfoot tickled twine. Jackson Reineke and Kyle Bauer were both successful in their shootout attempts for the Wolverines. Shane Soderwall and Gavin Moffatt were both strong for their respective teams, Soderwall stopping 32 of 33 and Moffatt keeping out 29 of 30 in the loss. (Game summary provided by the NAHL.)
Reflecting upon the series versus the Wolverines, head coach Blake Hietala had the following comments: “After coming off a long 6 game road trip, including 4 games in Alaska, it was great to be home at the Dome again. Obviously, I was happy with the win on Friday but I thought we were somewhat sloppy away from the puck. That resulted the majority of their scoring chances. It was nice to see Begley and Burfoot each score a couple on Thursday. We had five additional scorers that game. We need to continue to get scoring from all or our lines. I expected a much bigger push from Anchorage during the second game, and that it what we saw. I give them credit for making adjustments and grinding out the shootout win. That game was a goaltenders’ clinic in which both goalies deserved to win. Gavin Moffatt played well, as did Max Beckford on Thursday. We can rely on both of those guys in net.”
Up Next: The Windigo stay home to host the Minnesota Wilderness on February 17-18. This weekend is our “Stick it to Cancer” event. In addition to other activities, game worn pink cancer themed jerseys (see attached) will be auctioned and proceeds will directly benefit individuals battling cancer. The Windigo are proud to partner with the Pink Ribbon Riders and Anderson Family Insurance for this event. Puck drop is at 7pm both nights. Tickets are available online at www.wisconsinjuniorhockey.com/tickets or at the door. Limited reserve section access is available for $15 and general admission is $10.