Windigo split road series with Brown Bears with win Saturday
SOLDOTNA, Alaska — Over the weekend, the Wisconsin Windigo traveled to Alaska to face the Kenai River Brown Bears in an NAHL Midwest Division matchup. The Brown Bears emerged with the win on Friday, 6-4, but the Windigo bounced back with a 5-0 win on Saturday.
The Windigo (7-6-1-0) were up 4-3 on Friday night, but things went south as penalties cost them in the second half of the third period.
On the positive side, forward Max Martin had a goal in each period to earn a hat trick in the contest.
“We were poised to win the game on Friday, but undisciplined play, inconsistent team effort protecting the puck in our zone, and an unfortunate five-minute major late in the third were too much to overcome,” said coach Blake Hietala. “It was a shame to see Martin’s hat trick go to waste like that.”
Martin opened the scoring just 1:07 into the contest. Defenseman Mario DeMaggio and forward Braydon Beahm both assisted on the goal. Martin’s second goal came just 39 seconds into the middle frame. This time, Beahm had the primary assist with defenseman Leo Eperjesi getting the second helper.
Martin’s hat trick goal came 6:19 into the third period on the power play. Defenseman Erick Comstock and forward Will Schumacher both assisted on the goal.
Schumacher also had a part in alternate captain Tyler Grahme’s goal at 8:20 of the first period. Forward Everett Pietila had the other assist on that goal.
Windigo goaltender Linards Lipskis gave up a goal in the first period a little over a minute and a half after Martin’s first goal. In the second, he gave up a pair, but he shut things down from there until the Brown Bears evened the game again 12:47 into the third.
A five-minute major called against forward Adam Timm put the hosts on the advantage with just over five minutes left in the contest. The Brown Bears struck twice less than two minutes apart to put the game out of reach.
Lipskis finished with 20 saves in the loss.
Saturday, Timm got a little revenge of his own in the first period when he found the back of the net 16:14 in. Forwards Luke Baker and Jacob Jastrzebski both assisted on the goal.
From there, the Windigo took control of the contest. Beahm got things started with a goal 1:35 into the second. Martin and forward Zachary Burfoot assisted on the tally.
Schumacher struck just 27 seconds later. Grahme added a power play goal at the 17:28 mark to put Wisconsin up 4-0. Pietila assisted on both goals. Grahame assisted on Schumacher’s goal and Martin had the primary assist on Grahme’s.
Schumacher scored his second of the game 1:35 into the third. Defenseman Trent LeDrew and Grahme both assisted on the goal.
“I was much happier with our effort on Saturday,” Hietala said. “We made some adjustments and were able to execute clean zone exits that ultimately resulted in scoring chances. Our transition game, and team defense, contributed to the win.”
Finding success on the man advantage was something that Hietala was very excited about.
“It was great to see our power play click the way it did,” he said. “We have been moving the puck pretty well on the power play all season, and it’s great to see that puck movement translate to goals.”
Lipskis made 25 saves to earn the shutout win.
With the split, the Windigo have 15 points on the season, which puts them in fourth in the Midwest Division. They trail both Chippewa and Janesville by just one point for second.
The Windigo remain on the road this weekend as they travel to face the Anchorage Wolverines for three games at Ben Boeke Ice Arena. The Wolverines sit fifth in the Midwest with 14 points thanks to a record of 4-4-2-0 thus far.