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Wilderness goalie will play for UMD

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Minnesota Wilderness goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo committed to the Bulldogs this week.

Kaskisuo, a 6-foot-2¼, 201-pounder from Vantaa, Finland, has posted a 15-5-4 record with a 1.35 goals-against average, eight shutouts and a stellar .948 save percentage this season for the Cloquet-based North American Hockey League team.

“I love the school — it’s everything I was looking for in a school,” Kaskisuo said Tuesday, a day after informing UMD Coach Scott Sandelin of his decision. “It’s the best place for me to develop and enjoy my time in college. The whole package works.”

Kaskisuo chose UMD over Providence College and Nebraska-Omaha, the other schools he visited. He said the Bulldogs started scouting him early during the Wilderness season.

UMD, which counts Alex Stalock and Kenny Reiter among recent standout goalies, had a 90-save performance by Aaron Crandall over the weekend. With Crandall graduating after the season, Kaskisuo hopes to compete for playing time in 2014-15 alongside returnees Matt McNeely and Alex Fons.

“I know that the opportunity is there, but I know I need to get better before next season starts,” he said.

Kaskisuo has missed the past few games due to an injury and the Wilderness are keeping him sidelined until he is 100 percent healthy.

Wilderness Coach Corey Millen says the 20-year-old Finn is the real deal when fit and is every bit as talented as his statistics make him seem.

“Ironically his numbers have come down quite a bit the last five [games]; they were even goofier and gaudier than they are now,” Millen said.

Kaskisuo is listed 16th among North American goalies in the NHL Central Scouting Service midterm rankings for players eligible for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

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