SPOONER, Wis. – Sports – The SIJHL – Superior International Junior Hockey League Superior is challenging the NOJHL – Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in the Superior – Northern Showdown. In Day One action of the inaugural Showdown it was a show of hockey power from the first place teams in each league.
The Minnesota Wilderness and the Soo Thunderbirds flexed their muscles on their way to lop-sided wins on Day One of the challenge.
SOO THUNDERBIRDS 7 FORT FRANCES LAKERS 1
The defending NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Thunderbirds allowed the game’s opening goal, but rebounded nicely in the triumph over Fort Frances.
Kevin Kurm gave the Lakers the early lead, but the T-Birds answered back with markers from Brandon Warmington and Yan Kalashnikov to take a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
The Soo extended their cushion in the middle frame on markers by Tyler Jones, Daniel Pymaki and Joseph Miller.
They then iced it in the third on additional goals from Warmington and Kalashnikov.
Michael Caruso chipped in with a pair of assists to aid the Soo’s offensive cause.
Brian Kment was the winning netminder while Jameson Shortreed was saddled with the loss.
MINNESOTA WILDERNESS 9 ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS 0
Winners of 17 straight games in the SIJHL play the Wilderness continued their winning ways in the SIJHL-NOJHL Showdown by rolling over the Bobcats in front of a large and boisterous pro-Wilderness crowd.
Minnesota, currently ranked No. 2 overall in the 128-team Canadian Junior Hockey League, got three goals in each period en route to the romp while JoJo Jeanetta stopped all 22 shots he faced to register the victory.
Captain Mike Dietrich, Zach Thielen and Jordan Shockley notched two tallies apiece in the victory while Conrad Sampair, Eric Carlson and Jake Larson added singles.
Larson also dished out three assists for a four-point night.
Elliot Lake netminder Cory Simik was bombarded with 55 shots in a losing cause for the Bobcats.
Two more games are on the slate Saturday with Fort Frances taking on Elliot Lake at 3:30 p.m. CT/4:30 p.m. ET while Minnesota meets Sault Ste. Marie in a highly anticipated nightcap, which gets underway at 7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET.