Junior hockey: Wilderness thumped in second attempt to clinch playoff spot
It'll go down to the last game of the regular season, where Minnesota can clinch a postseason spot with a win.
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — The Minnesota Wilderness found an inopportune time to lose back-to-back North American Hockey League games for the first time since December, as a 7-2 loss at the Chippewa Steel on Friday means their playoff bid will go down to Saturday's regular-season finale.
Minnesota fell behind 3-0 after a period, then pulled within a goal on power play goals in quick successfion from Cole Crusberg-Roseen and Haden Kruse. The hope didn't last long, as Nick Sajevic scored the first of Chippewa's four unanswered goals to conclude the game.
Kaden Shahan and Ryan Remick finished with a goal and two assists for Chippewa, which is eliminated from postseason contention.
Matthew Smith made 12 saves on 15 shots in the first period before he was replaced by Konrad Kausch, who made 14 saves over the last two frames.
Minnesota (34-23-2) will host the Steel to conclude the home-and-home and the regular season on Saturday at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet. The Wilderness can still guarantee themselves a playoff berth with a win. If they get less than that, they'll need help.
The Wilderness were tied for third with Anchorage, playing late Friday at home. Janesville is one point behind going into the final day and will need a better result at second-place Springfield than the Wilderness can achieve on Saturday to pass them for a spot in the top four in the Midwest Division and a postseason berth.