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Wilderness force Game 5 Monday in Cloquet

One of many scrambles in front of the Coulee Region Chill net during last Saturday night's playoff game in Cloquet, game 2 of the series. Pine Journal file art

The Minnesota Wilderness routed the Coulee Region Chill 9-1 on Saturday in La Crosse, Wis., in Game 4 of a first-round NAHL playoff series to force Game 5 at 7:05 p.m. on Monday at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet. Doors open at 6:00 PM and puck drops at 7:05 p.m.  All tickets will be $5. 

The Wilderness, who fell behind 2-0 in the best-of-five series via two home losses last weekend, jumped out to a 6-0 lead Saturday before Coulee Region finally got on the board in the third period.

Wilderness forward Aaron Miller of Superior finished with four points off a goal and three assists, forward Michael Covach scored two goals and forward Billy Exell was credited with three assists.

Wilderness goaltender Brock Kautz finished with 24 saves on 25 shots.

Game Three

On Friday night, the Wilderness survived a furious third-period comeback attempt by Coulee Region to defeat the Chill 5-4 and stave off elimination in the first round of the North American Hockey League playoffs Friday in La Crosse, Wis.

The Wilderness led 4-0 after two periods thanks to two scores from Superior native Dan Litchke and one each by Brett Heikkila and Michael Covach. Richard Zehnal scored for Coulee Region with two minutes gone in the third, but Minnesota’s Tyler Cline responded with a goal four minutes later.

Nico Luka, Charlie Parker and Adam Lovick all scored over the next five minutes to trim the lead to one. Wilderness goaltender Brock Kautz didn’t allow another goal, however, and finished with 42 saves.

Adam Carlson and Jimmy Thomas combined to stop 37 shots for Coulee Region Friday night.

The Duluth News Tribune contributed to this report.