Ice Dogs spoil early season openers for Wilderness in Cloquet

By Jim den Hollander
The NAHL’s Midwest and Central Divisions will see all teams in action at the traditional starting point, the 2022 NAHL Showcase Tournament starting Wednesday (Sept. 14) at the National Sports Center Super Rinks in Blaine, MN but the Minnesota Wilderness got things off early on the previous weekend.

Another tradition is the three Alaska-based teams from the Midwest Division opening the season in the Midwest. The Wilderness played host to the always strong Fairbanks Ice Dogs at the Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet, MN Sept. 9-10.
The Ice Dogs scored the first three goals on its way to a 6-2 win in its opening contest Sept. 9 and despite a solid edge in shots the following night, the Wilderness came up just short once again by a 3-2 margin.
The Ice Dogs scored twice in each period Friday while the Wilderness scored both of its goals in the middle period. Joe Cesario (’03/Denver, CO) and Teddy Merrill (’05/Scottsdale, AZ) pulling the trigger for the home team.
Isak Posch (’02/Umea, Sweden) faced the tough challenge in goal for the Wilderness in the opening contest, stopping 25 of 31 for the Wilderness.

The second game saw a more determined effort from the Wilderness, including the game opening goal from Cole Gordon (’02/Windsor, CO) 82 seconds into the game. Cesario scored the other, tying the game at 2-2 in the second period.
Brady Welsch (’02/Fond du Lac, WI) notched the game winner for the Ice Dogs in the second minute of the final period. The Wilderness held a 36-25 edge in shots, highlighted by a 13-5 margin through the middle 20.

Konrad Kausch (’02/Duluth, MN) stopped 23 of 25 in goal for the Wilderness.
Every team in the league will play four times in four days at the showcase, the Wilderness looking to break into the win column against the Shreveport Mudbugs from the South Division.

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