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Wilderness goalie honored, team on a win streak

Minnesota Wilderness defensemen Dominik Tiffels (17) and Terry Leabo (3) scramble to help goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo defend against Bruins foward Guillaume Leclerc during the first period of last Wednesday's 3-0 shutout victory. The Wilderness played to a crowd of more than 1,350 fans, who filled the arena for the promotional $1 admission night. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal1 / 4
Terry Leabo celebrates his goal against Austin last Wednesday. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal2 / 4
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On Monday, the North American Hockey League announced that Wilderness goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, age 20, was awarded the Midwest Division Star of the Week, writing on the website that "if the NAHL had to name an MVP at this point in the season . . . Kaskisuo would probably lead the conversation." The native of Vantaa, Finland, allowed only one goal in three wins last week.

Currently the Wilderness are on a 10-game win streak. On Wednesday, Kaskisuo made 20 saves in a 2-0 home shutout of the first place Austin Bruins. Two nights later, he made 33 saves in a 1-0 shutout in Aberdeen against the Wings, his league leading sixth shutout of the season. On Saturday, also in Aberdeen, he made 26 saves in a 2-1 win. For the season, Kaskisuo leads the NAHL in almost every single goaltending category, including wins (12), shutouts (6), goals against average (0.99) and save percentage (96 percent).

"As the old saying goes, the best penalty killer is your goalie, which is one of the major reasons why our penalty kill has performed the way it has," Wilderness Coach Corey Millen said in an NAHL press release. "We won in a very tough place against a very tough team in Aberdeen. I thought on Friday, Kasimir was outstanding. He remains calm and makes the saves we need him to make. The entire team is playing well in front of him."

The Wilderness will play their next home game on Friday, Dec. 6, against Austin at Northwoods Arena.