By Gary Moskalyk

27 Games 8-16-3 Points 19 WPct .352

6th place

GF 106 GA 128  -22

GFPG 3.93 GAPG 4.74 -0.81 goals per game differential

Penalty minutes 16.4 per game

PP% 16.8 PK% 80.8 Shorthanded GF 6, Shorthanded GA 8 Shutouts 1


Ryder McMillen (25 GP, 17G-30A-37 PTS), Zach Carson Defence (27 GP, 16G-22A-38 PTS), Sal Poggiali (25 GP, 14G-18A-32 PTS), Dillon Phillips Rookie (27 GP, 9G-21A-30 PTS), Dylan Jouppi Defence (25GP, 1G-21A-22 PTS), Brandon McDonald (23 GP, 4G-17A-21 PTS), Caden Sutter (27 GP, 6G-9A-15 PTS), Connor Hacker Defence (27 GP, 5G-9A-14 PTS), Ryan Kayser Rookie (27 GP, 5G-9A-14 PTS), Zach Johnson Rookie (19 GP, 9G-4A-13 PTS), Connor McClure (12 GP, 4G-9A-13 PTS).               

GOALIES  GP W-L-T  GAA  SV% Shutouts Minutes) 

Kyler Lowden (16 GP, 6-7-2, 4.35, .882, SO 1, 910)

Emmett Doherty (6 GP, 2-4-0, 4.59, .894, SO 0, 340)

William Forrester (5 GP, 0-5-0, 6.02, .856, SO 0, 299)

Keegan Strong (3 GP, 0-0-1, 2.93, .917, SO 0, 82)

If you’re looking for a poster child for a run and gun offence Wisconsin is your team. Thinking gunfight at the OK Corral? Here it is.

Case in point was the 9-8 overtime loss in Red Lake on Nov. 12. The Lumberjacks scored four unanswered in the third to tie it up, only to lose in overtime. Wisconsin was 1-6-3 in one-goal games–including heartbreakers against Kam River, Dryden, Red Lake and Thunder Bay. 

“Head scratcher,” laughed head coach Doug Lein. “You struggle to figure it out. I think that game in Red Lake when we were down 8-4 in the third and we tie it up and they score in overtime. I think that was the first half in a nutshell.

“Putting pucks in the back of the net, not a problem. Had a little stretch where we struggled to score. Overall, we’re right there,” Lein added.

Burying the puck isn’t the issue. Four Lumberjacks are one through four in the scoring race. Ryder McMillen’s been dominant from the beginning and has a legitimate shot at 100 points. Defenceman Zach Carson has 16 goals and 23 assists. Sal Poggiali has 32 points and rookie Dillon Phillips has 30.  Defenceman Dylan Jouppi has 21 assists, and Brandon McDonald is 20th in league scoring with 21 points.

Wisconsin averages 3.93 goals per game, 0.24 GPG behind Dryden. 

The flip side–goals allowed–isn’t too rosy.

“D-zone, big problem. The attention to detail wasn’t there, our guys knew it. Something we addressed, something we talked about before break,” said Lein.

The Lumberjacks have allowed 4.74 GPG. 

An 11-game streak with no wins easily wiped a promising 3-0 start. 

Starting goalie Kyler Lowden will be a big part of any second half resurgence.

“I’m hoping for a big second half out of him as a veteran and a 20-year-old. If he can step up and have a really ‘Kyler-esque’ second half it’ll put us in a pretty good spot,” said Lein of his number one.

“I don’t think our record is reflective of what we have as a team. I’m not one to boast, I’m not one to talk big, but I feel pretty good about our team going into the second half,” said Lein. “If teams are overlooking us that might not be a smart decision. If we won half of those one-goal games that puts us two games under .500–not a bad first half.”

Lein sees the fortunes of the Lumberjacks switching tracks in the second half.

“We’re in a really good place. The mental state of our guys is really good. The belief in what we have is really high,” he said. “It’s a scary thing. It’s a scary thing in a good way. . . Anybody can beat anybody on any night. Our guys are confident in who we have, who we’re bringing in. We feel really good about the waters to come.”