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Wilderness to play for league championship

Although the Minnesota Wilderness steamrolled through their semifinal series against the the Minnesota Iron Rangers, it took seven games to decide the other Superior International Junior Hockey League semifinal between Fort Frances and Dryden. The Fort Frances Lakers won.

"We've done real well against them, but they have a heck of a hockey team," Wilderness Coach Rod Aldoff said. "It'll be a good series. We will have to be at our best."

The Wilderness and the Fort Frances Lakers will begin playing to win the Bill Salonen Cup -- the Superior International Junior Hockey League championship -- on Friday, April 12, at the Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.

The seven game series will alternate between Cloquet and Fort Frances, Canada, approximately a 3-hour drive away. (Keep in mind that it is across the border, so fans will need to bring passports.)

The schedule follows:

Game 1: 7:30 p.m. April 12 in Cloquet

Game 2: 7:30 p.m. April 14 in Fort Frances

Game 3: 7:30 p.m. April 17 in Cloquet

Game 4: 7:30 p.m. April 19 in Fort Frances

Game 5: 7:30 p.m. April 20 in Cloquet

Game 6: 7:30 p.m. April 22 in Fort Frances

Game 7: 7:30 p.m. April 24 in Cloquet

Winning the SIJHL championship would leave the Canadian Junior Hockey League's No. 2-ranked Wilderness on track for a possible collision course matchup with the No. 1-ranked CJHL club, the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. That dream matchup, a possibility at the Royal Bank Cup in May, is still a ways down the line -- with the Wilderness needing first to win the Central District Championship (aka the Dudley-Hewitt Cup) in North Bay, Ontario, if they win the SIJHL.