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Wilderness hang tough over Thanksgiving holiday

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Tyler Vold, Wilderness defenseman, is pestered by Alex Lambacher of the Magicians during the second period of Wednesday’s matchup. Jamie Lund/ 2 / 4
Wilderness defenseman Janis Jaks (4) ties up Alex Lambacher of the Magicians in front of the Wilderness net, protecting goalie Luke Kania during the first period of Wednesday’s game. Jamie Lund/ 3 / 4
Wilderness goalie Luke Kania keeps his eye on the puck during the first period of Wednesday’s 6-2 home-game win. Jamie Lund/ 4 / 4

The Minnesota Wilderness played three road games over the Thanksgiving weekend, winning once, losing once in overtime and losing once in a shootout.

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, the Wilderness beat the Minnesota Magicians 6-2 at home. The hosts built a 5-0 lead through two periods on goals by Tristan Rostagno, Kobe Roth, Koby Bender, Jack Forbort and Connor Buscis before the Magicians got on the board in the third period. Defenseman Janis Jaks scored the team’s sixth goal, with Luke Kania getting the win in goal.

The team then lost consecutive games in Janesville on Nov. 27-28to the Jets, but both required extra time to settle.

On Friday, the Wilderness rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to tie the game on goals by Tyler Cline and Roth, only to lose 3-2 in overtime. Kania stopped 18 of 21 shots in goal for the Wilderness.

The next night, the game took a shootout to settle, with the teams battling to a 2-2 tie through regulation and overtime. Aaron Miller and Casey Gilling helped the Wilderness erase a 2-0 deficit before the team fell in the shootout.

Still, the team earned four points from the three games, and that was enough to put the Wilderness into first place in the Midwest Division with 37 points, one more than second-place Fairbanks. However, the Ice Dogs have four games in hand on the Wilderness, who have already played 27 games — tied for the most in the league.

The Wilderness are off until next Friday, Dec. 11, when they host Coulee Region at Northwoods Credit Union Arena. They’ll then get another week off, playing Dec. 18 at Austin against the Bruins and Dec. 19 against the Magicians in Richfield. They will play at home again Dec. 30-31 against the Janesville Jets. The Wilderness have only five games scheduled in the entire month of December.