Wilderness fall in overtime in Game 5
The season is over for the Minnesota Wilderness after a 1-0 overtime loss to the Wenatchee Wild in the fifth and deciding game of their first-round Robertson Cup NAHL playoff series in Washington.
Trailing two games to one in the best-of-five series, the Wilderness never trailed in Friday night’s game four.
Before a crowd of 3,590 in Wenatchee, the Wilderness took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jaycob McCombs just 2:45 into the contest. Matthew Nuttle’s power-play goal at 9:37 for Wenatchee tied the game at 1-1 after the first period but the home team never was able to gain the lead. Eric Brenk scored for the Wilderness at 6:21 of the second period, and the team built an all-important two-goal lead a few minutes later when Darian Romanko scored an unassisted goal at 13:40. Jakob Ahlgren scored a second power-play goal for the Wild at 19:33 and the Wilderness led 3-2 after two periods.
The third period was scoreless until the Wild pulled goaltender Chase Perry late in the contest — and Ivan Chukarov hit the empty net with 28 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Wilderness.
Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 24 of 26 shots in goal to earn the win for the Wilderness, while Perry stopped 22 of 25 shots for Wenatchee.
The next night, a crowd half the size saw a much tighter game. A crowd of 1,680 saw the teams battle through three scoreless periods and saw Kaskisuo stop 37 Wenatchee shots on goal in regulation in a scoreless tie.
Meanwhile, the Wilderness were putting 36 shots on Perry in the Wenatchee goal, with neither team able to find a way through to the goal.
After 18:41 of overtime and 29 more shots on goal between the teams, the Wild finally found the breakthrough as Matthew Nuttle finally beat Kaskisuo to end the game and the series. The UMD recruit from Finland stopped 53 of the 54 shots he faced, while Perry kept a clean sheet by handling all 48 Wilderness shots on goal in the contest.
The Wilderness finished their first season in the NAHL with a combined regular season and playoff record of 39-17-9.