Minnesota Wilderness

Wilderness Cannot Keep with Jets in Offensive Showcase

February 25, 2024 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Minnesota Wilderness News Release

The Minnesota Wilderness scored early Saturday but could not score often enough, falling to the Janesville Jets, 7-5, in the finale of a weekend series.

Alessandro Lurati led Minnesota with one goal and two assists. Five players lit the lamp for Minnesota as single tallies were also posted by Nate Murray, Aiden Shrey, Peyton Nelson, and Nash Jacobsma.

Lurati's goal 3:26 after the opening face-off opened the scoring as the Wilderness controlled the play for the first five minutes. Lurati posted his third of the year with some significant help from Hayden Walters. Walters stripped the puck from Trey Fechko as Fechko skated toward the net in the Wilderness zone. Then as the puck slid toward Jets forward Haden Kruse, Walters laid a body check on Kruse and made his way up ice into the Jet zone where he found Lurati to finish the play.

What transpired after was a back and forth contest that resulted in Janesville building multiple leads that the Wilderness twice erased before Janesville finally sealed the game with an empty-net goal in the third.

Janesville's scoring started on its first shot on goal of the contest, and then took the lead 1:48 later. Max Wagener made it 1-1 at 5:29 and he was followed by Christian Venticinque's marker to put the Jets in front.

That second goal resulted in a goalie change for Minnesota. Starter Adam Prokop was pulled in favor of Nick Erickson. Prokop finished his night with two saves on four shots. Erickson took the loss facing 32 shots with 28 saves.

The Wilderness evened the score at two in the 2 nd period with a power play marker from Murray (his third in only six games, assisted by Gustavs Ozolins and Lurati), but two quick-succession tallies by the Jets would give the visitors a 2-goal lead before the first frame was over. Nick Sajevic, on a power play, and Venticinque buried shots with 5:06 and 3:55 remaining respectively.

The tennis-like match continued in the 2 nd period, when Minnesota again pulled even, only to see Janesville answer with two more goals.

Shirey began this comeback when his wrist shot from the left circle made it 4-3 6:16 into the middle period.

While on a power play, Nelson would then knot the game at 4 with his fourth of the season with 3:59 left, but goals by Sajevic and Nick Messina restored Janesville's 2-goal advantage at 6-4 before 2nd period time expired.

The Wilderness got a lift in the third period with Jacobsma's marker at the 1:49 mark, but the Jets shut the door from there. An empty net goal from Kruse with 90 seconds left completed the scoring.

Matthew Alberti earned the victory in goal for Janesville (29-14-3), making 33 saves. Minnesota outshot the Jets 38-37.

Both teams saw success on special teams. The Wilderness finished two-for-three, while Janesville went 1-for-2.

The game also marked the first fighting major for Kole Altergott since he was acquired by the Wilderness earlier this month. The forward from Green Bay, WI, got into a scrap with Messina in the final minutes of the first period.

It will not get any easier for Minnesota (25-19-4). The Wilderness will next host first-place Wisconsin in a 2-game series. Those games are set for March 1-2 at 7:15 p.m. in Cloquet.

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