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Steel Slips Past Wilderness in Shootout

January 18, 2024 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Minnesota Wilderness News Release

A game where fans had to wait over half of regulation time for the first goal led to plenty of excitement before it was all over.

After a scoreless first period, the Minnesota Wilderness and Chippewa Steel traded single goals in the 2nd and 3rd periods, before the Steel won in a shootout, 3-2.

Peteris Purmalis scored both Wilderness goals. After Aidan Willis recorded the game's first goal and gave Chippewa a 1-0 lead, Purmalis tied the contest when he fired in a wrist shot from the left circle with 10 seconds left in the middle frame. Alessandro Lurati and Adam Johnson assisted on the marker.

The veteran forward from Liepaja, Latvia, then gave Minnesota its first lead of the game when he scored with 7:04 left in the third period. After taking a pass from Daniel Astopovich at the middle of the Steel blue line, Purmalis proceeded to stickhandle around Steel defenseman Joey Sylvester and then beat Chippewa goaltender Ajay White on the stick side to make the score 2-1. Peyton Nelson also assisted on the tally which was Purmalis' 14th of the season.

Chippewa (17-14-5) then tied the game after a shot from the blue line by Zach Sondreal beat Wilderness goaltender Adam MÓ§ller with 1:40 remaining in regulation. That led to a 3-on-3 overtime where both teams failed to score setting up the shootout to decide the winner.

In the shootout, Anton Astashevich and Peyton Platter both struck for the Steel, while the Wilderness (22-12-4) were held scoreless on attempts by Oliver Stümpel and Purmalis.

The loss spoils the first start for MÓ§ller, who turned aside 30 Chippewa shots before the shootout. MÓ§ller's most impressive stop came in the first minute of overtime, when he denied Chippewa's Talan Blanck on a breakaway in the opening minute.

The Wilderness outshot the Steel, 36-32.

Both teams failed to score on special teams, with Minnesota going 0-for-5 on the power play, and the Steel finishing 0-for-1.

A busy week for the Wilderness continues with two games this weekend. Minnesota takes on St. Cloud in a home-and-home series, which begins Friday in St. Cloud and concludes Saturday at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.

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