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 Minnesota Wilderness

Murray Nails OT Winner in Home Finale

April 6, 2024 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Minnesota Wilderness News Release

The Minnesota Wilderness slipped back into playoff position Friday night thanks to a 1-0 overtime win over the Springfield Jr. Blues.

Nate Murray scored the lone goal 2 minutes into the 5-minute extra session. Goaltender Adam Prokop made 21 saves for his eighth victory of the season and fourth shutout.

Murray's goal capped off a nail-biter, where both teams traded chances throughout. While the Wilderness outshot Springfield 37-21, there were several moments where Springfield applied some sustained pressure. Goaltender J.J. Cataldo stymied the Wilderness offensively, finishing with 36 saves.

Minnesota (29-24-5) kept the Jr. Blues (20-29-9) from getting any shots on net during the 3-on-3 overtime, while putting three toward Cataldo. Ren Morque and Payton Nelson assisted on the goal. Morque set it up by carrying the puck into the Springfield zone on the left side and cycled behind the net and back to the high slot before dishing it to Nelson. From the top of the right circle, Nelson then sent a pass to Murray at the bottom of the left circle. Murray then one-timed a shot over the right shoulder of Cataldo for his fifth of the season and 2nd overtime game-winner.

Penalties were very rare throughout the game, as the teams combined for only 10 minutes of infractions.

Springfield had one power play chance, while Minnesota finished with two. Both were scoreless on the man-advantage.

The win allows the Wilderness to leapfrog over the Chippewa Steel and regain sole possession of fourth place in the Midwest Division; thereby putting themselves back into position to qualify for the Robertson Cup playoffs. The Wilderness now sits one point ahead of Chippewa. Both teams have two games remaining on the 2023-24 regular season schedule.

Minnesota will complete its schedule next weekend, when it visits Springfield for a 2-game series set for April 12 and 13.

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