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Junior hockey: Back in Alaska, Wilderness drop series opener

The best-of-five series is starting in the Last Frontier for the second time in a row.

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Minnesota Wilderness, back in Alaska for the second time in three weeks, started their best-of-five NAHL Robertson Cup Midwest Division Finals series with the Anchorage Wolverines just like they did the first round against Fairbanks: with a Game 1 loss.

The Wolverines got three goals, including one from Grand Rapids' Hunter Bischoff, in the last 10 minutes to take the series opener 4-1 late Friday night.

The game remained scoreless late into the second period when a high-sticking minor gave the Wilderness their third power play of the frame and a brief 5-on-3. The Wolverines got one player back, and soon after, the game's first goal when Drake Albers scored shorthanded with 38 seconds to play. The Wilderness responded on the same penalty, as Cole Crusberg-Roseen evened it up with just four seconds left.

In the third period, the Wolverines were shorthanded again and scored again, this time through Matt Johnson with 8:57 to play. Bischoff then struck for insurance with 5:24 left before Albers picked up a second goal in the closing seconds.

Matthew Smith made 28 saves for the Wilderness.

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Game 2 was scheduled for late Saturday. If the Wilderness win, Game 3 will be played in Alaska on Sunday evening. If Anchorage takes a 2-0 lead, the series will shift to Cloquet next weekend for two or three games depending upon the outcome.

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