Austin sweep Wilderness to end 2016
Austin 5 @ MN Wilderness 4 (OT) — The Bruins never led in the game Dec. 30 until the overtime-winner as AJ Drobot converted on a mistake behind the Wilderness net to give the Bruins a 5-4 win on the road. The Wilderness had leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3, but could not hold them. The Bruins got two goals from Jan Stefka and others from Paul O'Connor and Travis Kothenbeutel in regulation. Minnesota goal their goals from Ryan Peterson and Dylan Mills in the 1st period and Tyler Vold and Dylan Mills in the 2nd period. Alex Schilling made 37 saves in the win, while Trevor Micucci made 48 saves in the overtime loss.
MN Wilderness 3 @ Austin 4 — Four different players scored a Alex Schilling made 32 saves as the Bruins posted a 4-3 home win on Dec. 31, which completed a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Wilderness. The Wilderness took a 2-0 lead with two first period goals from Alexander Esbjors and Dylan Mills. In the second period, Austin got on the board with a goal from Justin Misiak, but the Wilderness pushed the lead back to two goals with a strike from Louis Roehl. The Bruins would then score three unanswered goals to win the game, thanks to a late second period goal from Jason Koehn and two third period goals from AJ Drobot and Travis Kothenbeutel, who scored the game-winner with under a minute remaining in the game.
Wilderness beat Minot, lose to Bismarck on the road
MN Wilderness 3 @ Minot 1 — Trevor Micucci made 34 saves Friday, Jan. 6 to lead the Wilderness to an important 3-1 road win against division-leading Minot. The game was even at 1-1 after two periods as Ashton Altmann scored his first goal of the season in the 1st period for Minnesota, only to see Minot answer in the second period on a goal from Michael Talbot. In the third period, the Wilderness gained the win thanks to two goals from Michael Zuffante. Lucas Murray made 24 saves in the loss for the Minotauros.
MN Wilderness 3 @ Bismarck 4 — An epic comeback helped the Bismarck Bobcats snap their losing skid with a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the visiting Minnesota Wilderness Saturday, Jan. 7. It was all Minnesota in the first half of the game as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead with two first period goals from Bryceton Butkiewicz — his first two goals of the season — and a 2nd period goal from Troy Dobbs. The Bobcats mounted their comeback later in the 2ndperiod with a goal from Tristan Ashbrook and three goals in the 3rd period from Parker Mismash, Mitchell Walinski and Matej Murin. Camden Haugenoe earned the win, making 24 saves, while Trevor Micucci made 33 saves in the loss.
New NAHL video series highlights league alumni, including former Wilderness players
In a new video series for the 2016-17 season, the North American Hockey League (NAHL) is featuring its extensive list of alumni in the NHL, NCAA and beyond in a new series entitled the NAHL Now: Alumni Series.
The NAHL Now: Alumni Series will be a regular video segment that highlights an alumni of the NAHL, who are currently playing in the NHL, NCAA or elsewhere as they try and catch up with their current situation, as well as, take a look back during their time playing in the NAHL.
During a recent trip to Minnesota for another great NAPHL and NAHL Future Prospects event, the NAHL traveled to Mariucci Arena to catch up with some alumni at the University of Minnesota, which included former Minnesota Wilderness, Janesville Jets and NAHL Top Prospects goaltender Brock Kautz.
Kautz made his Gophers debut on March 5, 2016 against Michigan State, making eight saves in 35:30 of play and earned his first letter.
Prior to playing for Minnesota, he spent five seasons in the NAHL including 2014-15 with the Minnesota Wilderness under Gophers All-American Corey Millen
Kautz backstopped the Wilderness as the organization captured its first-ever Robertson Cup in 2015 and was named Most Valuable Player of the Robertson Cup Finals after allowing just one goal in two games (best-of-three series)
The only goal against in the finals came in a four-overtime 2-1 series-opening win — the longest game in NAHL history at one hour, 33 minutes and three seconds.
Kautz pitched a 26-save shutout to complete the sweep in a 4-0 win to capture the Robertson Cup. He posted 10-straight playoff wins in route to the title and led all NAHL goalies in the playoffs with a 10-1 record, a 1.43 GAA and a .944 save percentage.
Former Wilderness forward and current Gopher Darian Romanko was also featured in the alumni video series.
As of mid-December, Romanko had appeared in 16 games for the Gophers and recorded two points.
Romanko skated in 34 games for the Gophers as a rookie and recorded four assists in his freshman season. He notched his first point as a Gopher with an assist against St. Cloud State on Nov. 29 and contributed in back-to-back wins against Penn State and Michigan State with one assist in each game. He also posted one assist in Minnesota's 9-2 win over Wisconsin in Madison and earned first letter.
Romanko played two seasons with the Minnesota Wilderness in the NAHL for Millen and helped the Wilderness capture the 2015 NAHL Robertson Cup. He led all NAHL skaters with 19 points in the playoffs and tied for the league lead in playoff goals with seven and playoff assists with 12.