In the aftermath of the Anchorage Wolverines’ victory in Game 1 of the North American Hockey League’s Midwest Division Finals, director of hockey operations Keith Morris dismissed any desire to host a third game in the series.

Even if all the extra (limited) gate, concessions and merch sales might help pad the junior team’s bottom line?

“We want nothing to do with that,” Morris said late Friday from the confines of Ben Boeke Arena’s central office.

Uh, preferences don’t always pan out as the Wolverines begrudgingly learned in Saturday’s Game 2. Anchorage laid the proverbial egg against the Minnesota Wilderness, who scored three second-period goals and rolled to a convincing 7-2 victory.

All of which means Game 3 of the tied best-of-five series goes down at Boeke on Sunday afternoon. The puck drops at 5 before the series shifts to Cloquet, Minn., for at least one game, maybe two. If Anchorage had won Saturday, the teams would’ve been off until Friday and the series would’ve finished down in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Photo by Bryan Boyett/Alaska Sports Report

The Wolverines lost for the first time in nearly a month and had their seven-game winning streak obliterated. Now, they get one final home game in hopes of grabbing a series lead – the third of three tilts in three days.

“I think it’s more of the physical beatdown on all our bodies at this point,” said Wolverines defenseman Andy Ramsey of Anchorage. “It’s going to be about feeling right whether it’s going in the ice bath or the sauna.

“We have to make sure we’re up for the task.”

Minnesota entered the third period with a 4-1 lead. Shane Soderwall tagged in for hard-luck Anchorage starting goaltender Raythan Robbins, who made 16 saves in the first two periods. The teams combined for 44 penalty minutes in the final 20 minutes. Ramsey received a minor and misconduct and left the ice for the evening at the 13-minute, 58-second mark of the third.

Andy Ramsey

Poor defensive play, a pair of Anchorage turnovers and an awful screen sunk Robbins’ night. Ramsey said he and the Wolverines were forced to face facts for the first time in quite a while.

They weren’t good, and better be right awfully quick.

“We were losing puck battles and all the little details we’ve been so good at the last few weeks,” said Ramsey, who left Anchorage when he was in eighth grade for comp and junior play Outside. “There’s no worse feeling than letting (Robbins) down. He’s been huge for us, and you can say he’s the reason we’ve gotten here.

“He’s been so consistent and so big for us these last seven or eight games. To let him down and not put up much of an effort in front of him, nothing is worse.”

Minnesota defenseman Max Ruoho paced the Wilderness with a goal and two assists. Captain and Western Michigan recruit Ethan Wolthers added a goal and an assist.

Talon Sigurdson, an Arizona State commit, scored the two Wolverines goals.

Anchorage needs two wins in its next three games to make it to the NAHL Robertson Cup playoffs’ final four in Blaine, Minn., later this month. Will Sunday be the Wolverines’ Day?

“We have to remember how we feel (after Saturday’s game),” Ramsey said. “It’s embarrassing for us in front of the home crowd and in these first playoff games here.

“It’s a bitter taste. But (Sunday) morning we need to put this one behind us and come to the rink like we always have. We need to get on (Minnesota) hard and run them into the ground.”

Photo by Bryan Boyett/Alaska Sports Report

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