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Junior hockey: Pionk, Wilderness skate past Brown Bears

Hermantown product gets scoring started with shorthanded goal in the first period.

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Defenseman Aaron Pionk of Hermantown was one of five players to score goals in the Minnesota Wilderness' 5-2 victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in Cloquet.
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Defenseman Aaron Pionk of Hermantown was one of five players to score goals in the Minnesota Wilderness’ 5-2 victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, in a North American Hockey League game before 900 at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.

Pionk got the scoring started with a shorthanded goal at 12:09 in the first period before Kenai River’s Tristian Thibeault knotted it 1-1 with a power play goal a minute later.

The teams exchanged goals in the second period before the Wilderness finally broke away with three goals in the third on tallies by Two Harbors’ Charlie Erickson and Gunnar Thoreson and Noah Decker’s empty netter.

Max Ruoho had three assists and Minnesota goalie Jacob Zacharewicz and Kenai River goalie Bryant Marks had 32 saves apiece.

The same teams rematch at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in Cloquet.

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