Grahme Scores in OT to Gain Series Split with Minnesota Wilderness
Up Next – Instate Rival Janesville Jets Oct. 14 & 15 at the Dome in Eagle River, WI
The Wisconsin Windigo traveled to Cloquet, MN, this past weekend to face the Minnesota Wilderness. The Wilderness brought a record of 5 wins, 2 regulation losses, one overtime loss and one shootout loss, into the weekend. The Windigo entered the weekend with 2 wins and 6 losses and were seeking to end a 5-game losing streak in which they largely outplayed their opponents. The injury bug has hampered the Windigo with Patrick Isiguzo, Zach Burfoot and Albin Sibbesson out of the lineup. Forward Paul Huglen joined the Windigo this past week in a trade with the Bismarck Bobcats. Huglen hails from Roseau, MN, and played 44 games for the Bobcats last season, registering 3 goals and 14 assists.
Friday, October 7: Wisconsin 0 at Wilderness 4 – The Wilderness came out flying, peppering Windigo starting goalie Gavin Moffat with 15 shots in the first period. The Wilderness broke the ice 5:36 into the game on a goal by Eddie Shepler, who beat Moffatt on a shot that changed direction on a block attempt just after it was released. Shepler scored again less than 6 minutes later. After managing just 4 shots on net in the first period, the Windigo found their legs and out shot their opponent by 23 to 15 over the final two periods. However, the Windigo weren’t able to solve Wilderness goalie Isak Posch, who turned back all 27 shots the Windigo threw at him. Meanwhile, Posch’s teammates added goals in the second and third period to close out the win. Gavin Moffat made his third start of the season but took the loss for the Windigo, stopping 26 of the 30 shots he faced. “To say I was disappointed in our effort tonight would be an understatement. We looked slow and tentative. We had a good week in practice. We addressed some defensive breakdowns we have been suffering and practiced hard to generate offense. Unfortunately, I saw little of that in our game tonight. We will come back tomorrow with a different attitude.” commented Windigo head coach Blake Hietala after the loss.
Saturday, October 8: Wisconsin 3 at Wilderness 2 (OT) – Seeking redemption from Friday’s loss, the Windigo broke open the scoring 5:16 into the first period as Will Schumacher scored his 3rd goal of the season, tipping in a shot from the point by Cole Mickel. Minnesota tied the game just over two minutes later when Joe Cesario beat Windigo goalie Max Beckford for his 7th goal of the season. A tight checking game ensued until deep into the second period when, again, a Mickel shot from the point was redirected past the Wilderness goalie by Connor Mahony for his first goal of the season. Tyler Grahme was credited with the second assist. The Wilderness tied the game at 6:32 into the third period. The Windigo penalty killing unit was instrumental in pushing the game into overtime by killing a Ben Anderson roughing minor with just 2:46 to go in the game. The Windigo ended their first overtime game of the season just 47 seconds in as Tyler Grahme carried the puck into the offensive zone and fired a shot over the glove of the Wilderness goalie into the top corner of the net. “Will (Schumacher) did a great job winning a puck battle deep in our zone that sprung Cole (Mickel) and I on a 2 on1. As I carried the puck into their zone, I saw Cole on my left and I think their goalie thought I was going to slide it over to him. He cheated a little to his right, which gave me an open top left corner to pick,” explained Grahme. “I give our penalty killers and our goalie Max Beckford a lot of credit for keeping their composure and killing that penalty late in the third. What can you say about Tyler’s game winner? He took advantage of our odd man rush and made a great shot. I give Cole credit for jumping in on that rush and making them defend against him,” exclaimed a jubilant coach Hietala after the game. “It was great to see Cole step up all game and get some pucks on net. He assisted on all 3 of our goals. It wasn’t a pretty win, but I am proud of our guys battling hard to come up with the victory,” continued Hietala. Windigo goalie Max Beckford recorded his second win of the season, turning back 26 of the 28 shots he faced. The Windigo converted on 3 of their 22 shots on net.
Up Next: October 14 and 15 – Home Games vs Janesville Jets – The Windigo host in-state rival Janesville Jets on Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15 at the historic Dome in Eagle River, WI. The Jets bring a record of 6 wins, 2 regulation losses, 2 overtime losses and 1 shootout loss into the weekend set against the Windigo. The two teams split a pair of preseason games held in Janesville on September 2 and 3. Those games were characterized by very physical play. Tickets can be purchased at the door commencing 1 hour prior to game time or online at https://www.wisconsinjuniorhockey.com/tickets. General admission is $10 and reserved section access is $15.