Minnesota Wilderness

Wilderness Drop Series Opener to Jets

February 24, 2024 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Minnesota Wilderness News Release

After scoring the game's first goal early in the second period, the Minnesota Wilderness could not contain the Janesville Jets. Janesville scored three unanswered goals and skated to a 3-1 victory Friday night in the first of a 2- game weekend set.

Gustavs Ozolins gave the Wilderness a 1-0 advantage with a power play tally at the 1:41 mark of the middle frame. Ozolins beat Jets goaltender Matthew Alberti with a blast from the high slot for his third of the season. Alessandro Lurati and Nate Murray earned assists on the goal.

That marker came on the first power play of the game, and Janesville answered in the contest's second man-advantage situation. Mason Kesselring evened the score at 1-1 at the 8:29 mark, with assists going to Connor Brown and former Wilderness Haden Kruse.

The Jets added one more in the final minutes of period 2. Nick Messina scored what eventually would be the game-winner with 2:27 left on the clock with assists going to James Taylor and Ethan Begg. Jake Merens followed with an insurance goal that came with 7:06 remaining in the final period that was set up by Kesselring and Brown.

Minnesota (25-18-4) dominated in shots on goal in the opening period by a 17-3 count, but the Jets (28-14-3) turned it around in the second with a 16-9 advantage. At the final buzzer, the Wilderness ended up ahead in shots, 36-27.

Alberti earned the win with 35 saves. Nick Erickson suffered the loss for the Wilderness turning aside 24 attempts.

On special team, Janesville converted on its only power play chance, while the Wilderness went 1-for-2.

Game 2 in the weekend series will be Saturday night at 7:15 p.m. in Cloquet.

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