THUNDER BAY – Sports – Season 12 of the Superior International Junior Hockey League got underway Friday night with exciting hockey action across the region. The Dryden Ice Dogs, Thunder Bay North Stars and Minnesota Wilderness all posted opening night victories.
Your Thunder Bay North Stars got off on the right foot with a win to start the season.
THUNDER BAY NORTH STARS 6 MINNESOTA IRON RANGERS 1 – The Thunder Bay North Stars got two goals apiece in each period en route to the triumph over the Iron Rangers in Hoyt Lakes.
Matt Kaarela, Kris Kellaway and Alex Vaillant all tallied twice in the win for Thunder Bay with Wade Garbett chipping in with three assists.
Jayme Brattengeier faced 31 shots in registering the victory for the North Stars with Chase Hollander making 35 saves in defeat for the Iron Rangers.
DRYDEN ICE DOGS 6 DULUTH CLYDESDALES 3 – An original member of the SIJHL, the Ice Dogs, began their 12th year in the league on a winning note by doubling up visiting Duluth at Memorial Arena.
Austin Snedden staked the Clydesdales to the early lead thanks to a quick strike by Austin Snedden a minute into the contest.
After Chris Belhumeur pulled the home side level at 15:53 of the opening stanza, Duluth’s Zachary Newman tallied in the late stages of the session to give his side the lead after one period of play.
The middle frame was all Ice Dogs as they scored four times to go up 5-2 after 40 minutes.
Leading the Ice Dogs attack in the period was Cole Sonstebo who notched a pair of markers while Belhumeur added his second of the night and set-up another for a three-point night.
Chris Sitko had the other goal for Dryden.
The two sides exchanged tallies in the final period with Zachary Zanoya scoring for the Clydesdales and Jesse Linner replying for Dryden to round out the scoring in the late going.
Shots on goal favoured the Ice Dogs by a 49-22 margin with Eric Szymczyk picking up the win in his first SIJHL start.
Dom DeGuiseppi suffered the loss in the Duluth net in his league debut.
MINNESOTA WILDERNESS 7 SIOUX LOOKOUT FLYERS 1 – The defending Bill Salonen Cup champion Wilderness made an early statement that they want to go for a three-peat in the SIJHL as they rolled over the Flyers at Sioux Lookout’s Memorial Arena.
Captain Mike Dietrich, Peter Barrel and Mike MacKinnon all paced the Wilderness offensively with four-point evenings.
Dietrich fired a hat-trick and set-up another with the other both scoring once and dishing out three assists apiece.
Jeremy Johnson and Joe Drapluk added singles in the win.
JoJo Jeanetta only had to make 10 stops to record his first SIJHL victory while Eric Messer and Art Haase were pelted with a combined 44 pucks in the loss for the Flyers.
Brenner Blankenship had the lone Sioux Lookout goal dashing Jeanetta’s shutout bid with less than five minutes to go.
League play resumes Saturday in with each of the same sides meeting for a second consecutive night in the same venues.
The Thunder Bay North Stars will host their season opening games at the Fort William Gardens on Tuesday and Wednesday.