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Thanks for the memories Wilderness

Janis Jaks stretches for the puck as he and team mate Tyler Vold tag team a Fairbanks player during Friday nights game three in Cloquet. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com1 / 8
Second year Wilderness player Aaron "the thriller" Miller reaches around Fairbanks player as they head towards the boards during Friday nights playoff game three in Cloquet. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com2 / 8
The fans fill the stands during Friday nights playoff game three of Minnesota Wilderness v Fairbanks Ice Dogs. The game went into two over times when Brett Heikkila scored. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com3 / 8
Casey Gilling (6) and Alex Toscano (23) try to beat the Fairbanks players to the puck during Friday nights thrilling game. The Wilderness v the Fairbanks Ice Dogs was game three of five. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com4 / 8
Young fans show off their posters Friday night. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com5 / 8
Jack Forbort prepares to take a shot on net during Military Appreciation Night. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com6 / 8
Wilderness player Tyler Vold battles with a Kenai River player as they head towards the board in an earlier game this season. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com7 / 8
Wilderness forward Aaron Miller takes out a player during an exciting game earlier in the year. Jamie Lund/jlund@pinejournal.com8 / 8

Where has the time gone? The sound of sticks and pucks has suddenly stopped as the Wilderness lost their playoff run in Game 5 of the NAHL Midwest Division finals Sunday night.

It seems like just yesterday veteran players Brett Hiekkila, Janis Jaks, Alex Trapp, Jack Forbort, Isak Berland, Alex Toscano and later in the season Aaron Miller led the new players into another season, much to the delight of their fans.

Many of the younger fans gathered each game to argue who got to open the door as the team rushed onto the ice, doing fist bumps with huge gloves on little hands. The kids yelled to their favorite players as they rushed past, “Go Trapp!” or “We love you Aaron!” When the players came back off of the ice the youngsters tried to encourage them by saying “Nice job Isak.”

From the sound of the first skate blade slicing through the ice, the fans were in the stands cheering for their home team.

The Wilderness had a tough time when a few players had to leave mid-season due to injuries and new players came in.

When the playoffs rolled around, the veteran players set the example of how passing and playing together had led them to the Robby Cup the previous year. The team stepped it up and many of the playoff games ended in overtime, some as a loss for the Wilderness, but enough wins to bring the game back home to their excited fans.

After a thrilling double-overtime win by Brett Heikkila Friday night, the team actually won in regulation Saturday night, thanks to Alex Trapp, tying the series at 2-2.

Sadly, Sunday’s Game 5 loss marked the turning of the page as the last of the Robertson Cup winners move on. After a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, the season came to an end Sunday night. Several of the guys tweeted their thanks and goodbyes as they packed their gear and went back home and moved forward in their lives.

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