Weekend Recap: Chill Stay In Playoff Contention After Split With Wilderness

Coulee Region Chill 2, Minnesota Wilderness 3

The Coulee Region Chill got their weekend kicked off Friday night against the Minnesota Wilderness, looking to make it six-straight victories against the defending Robertson Cup Champions.  

Cole Koepke got things started for the Wilderness early in the first period, and Minnesota took a 1-0 lead into the second.  Caleb Schroer scored (Steven Quagliata, Phil Erickson assisted)  his 11th goal of the season to give the Chill the tie at the 7:26 mark in the middle frame.  Holmen, WI native Justin Kendall (Larry Jungwirth) gave the Chill a 2-1 lead but it only lasted for 61 seconds as Brett Heikkila tied the game back up at two.

The third period remained deadlocked at two until Heikkila put the Wilderness back on top with 5:18 left to go.  With just 56 seconds remaining the Chill tried to tie the game by pulling goalie Hunter Vorva and attacking with six men but they’d be unsuccessful.

Vorva would take the loss for the Chill, saving just 21/24 shots on the night.  Chase Munroe would be the winning goalie after facing just 18 shots, saving 16.


Coulee Region Chill 4, Minnesota Wilderness 3 (OT)

After losing the night before, the Chill would be in desperation mode to keep up in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Midwest Division.  

Dom Florian (Isaac Theisen, Nico Luka) took matters into his own hands just over four minutes into the game to put the Chill on the board 1-0.  Aaron Miller responded for the Wilderness with 42 seconds remaining as both teams headed into the middle frame tied at one.

Florian (Joey Sofo, Quagliata) put the Chill back up by one but for the second consecutive night the Chills’ 2-1 lead didn’t last more than two minutes as Tyler Vold tied the game back up at two.  Alex Falconer (Davis Zembergs, Matt Doran) would ultimately give the Chill a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

The final frame was quiet on the scoreboard with the exception of Cole Koepke tieing the game up at three.  Most of the action happened with just over two minutes remaining as Aaron Miller and Isaac Theisen tangled with Miller being the instigator and receiving three game misconducts and fighting major.  Alex Lambacher also received a fighting major from the altercation.

That’s as far as either team would come to winning the game, and for the second-consecutive weekend the Chill and Wilderness would be forced to play an overtime period to determine a winner.  The week before it was Florian converting in OT but this time it was rookie Kendall’s opportunity to give the Chill the win, scoring with 2:42 remaining via assists from Sofo and Florian.

With Matiss Kivlenieks still nursing an injury from two weeks prior it was Vorva in net once again and he didn’t disappoint, saving 35/38 shots en route to his 16th win on the season.  The Wilderness chose to go with Luke Kania in net opposed to Munroe; Kania saved just 15/19 shots on the night.

It’s the final weekend of the 2015-16 NAHL regular season and the Chill have three games to play.  Down just a single point in the chase for their playoff hopes they’ll need one win to surpass the Springfield Jr. Blues.  It all starts on Friday night in Janesville against the Janesville Jets before returning to Green Island for their final regular season home game Saturday night, puck dropping at 7pm.  Sunday it’s another road trip to Cloquet to end the regular season against the Wilderness.

Go Chill!