Thunder Bay North Stars and Fort Frances Lakers in Exciting SIJHL Action

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North Stars warming up. Hockey action live and up front!
North Stars warming up. Hockey action live and up front!

North Stars warming up. Hockey action live and up front!
North Stars warming up. Hockey action live and up front!

THUNDER BAY – Sports – The Thunder Bay North Stars and Fort Frances Lakers are engaged in hockey action tonight at Fort William Gardens. The North Stars are in their dark uniforms tonight, a switch from the usual home uniforms.

The North Stars are coming off a road win over Dryden earlier in the week.

Mitchell Knight #30 for the Thunder Bay North Stars
Mitchell Knight #30 for the Thunder Bay North Stars

There are a few new faces in the North Stars roster, goaltender Mitchell Knight is one of the new additions.

Fans are making their way into the Gardens, but there is still room for you to get to the game!

North Stars First Period Action

The teams are off to a fast pace, with the North Stars and Lakers moving the puck around, and some solid hitting.

Through the opening moments of the period, action is end to end. #17 Jacob Nolan broke in on net and got off a solid slap shot on Mitchell that was the best scoring attempt of the period so far – the shot was easily handled.

Mitchell was not as lucky  as the Lakers got off a sharp slap shot that hit the twine. Lakers goal was scored by #8 Merritt Rysavy and assisted by #6 Joel Bogacki and #13 Jordan Christianson. Time of the goal was 4:39.

The boards are rocking at the Gardens tonight, there are some very solid hits happening.

At the halfway point of the First Period, the shots are tied at five aside, with the Lakers holding on to a one goal lead.

The North Stars are playing a far more focused game however and are staying out of the penalty box.

Nolan for the Lakers is having some solid play, and breaking out from centre with the puck almost put the Lakers in solid scoring position.

The Lakers however are pouncing – a missed effort to clear the puck put Fort Frances into scoring position and he was stopped by #13 Jordan Christianson assisted by #9 Colton Spicer at 12:48. Lakers lead 2-0.

That goal woke up the North Stars. A few very solid hits in the Laker’s end resulting in a goal scored by a sprawling  #24 Bryce Maggrah, assisted by #19 Adam Restoule and #4 Matt Kaarela. Time of the goal 14:44. North Stars pull within a goal.

At 17:17 Fort Frances put the North Stars on a power play #13 Jordan Christianson was charged with goaltender interference.

#8 Cavar got off a knuckle-ball slap shot that the Laker’s goalie got his glove on.

At the action swung back into the North Star’s zone, #21 Bryce Martin was tagged with slashing at 18:32, ending the power play.

Shots on goal North Stars 8 and the Lakers 9 .

Second Period Action

The North Stars start the second period shorthanded for thirty-two seconds.

Solid hockey is the usual fare at the Fort William Gardens for both the North Stars and the Lakehead University Thunderwolves.

Attendance at tonight’s game, is about 350 fans. That figure along with the attendance at other events at the Fort William Gardens ranging only to about 3000 to 3500 fans at the average Lakehead Thunderwolves games makes the planning for a 6000 seat Event Centre something that likely has escaped many of the enthusiasts for a larger new centre.

Matt Kaarela, handling the puck like it was tied to his stick with a string broke in on net and got off a solid wrist shot that was handled sharply but the Laker’s goaltender.

The Stars are leading in shots on goal, but behind by one marker.

The North Stars next home game is against the powerful league leading Minnesota Wilderness. That game, on February 8th will be at the Port Arthur Arena. Visit www.thunderbaynorthstarsjrhockey.com for details.

The Lakers got called for two minutes, and the North Stars pounced on the power play to tie up the game. A solid slap shot from the point by #4 Matt Kaarela set up the goal, assisting #8 Mathias Gardiman.

The Lakers came right back scoring a third marker 6:22. Goal was popped past Mitchell by #21 Simon Desrosiers  assisted by Christiansen.

Mitchell got caught way out of position at the end of a Laker’s penalty. The Lakers flowed into the Stars end at least 15 feet from the nearest North Star. On a distant wrap-around. #9 Colton Spicer assisted by #8 Merritt Rysavy while short handed scored on the almost empty netter as Mitchell was sprawled out trying to get back in position.

The miscue clearly  frustrated the North Stars bench.

The North Stars fell behind 5-2 on a goal by Tyler Brodersen and assisted by Nolan, and that was enough for the Coach  Howarth to pull Mitchell and put in Jamie Brattengeier.

With seven minutes left in the second period the North Stars have a hole to dig themselves out from.

That hole deepened as #5 Joe Echelmier got pegged for roughing at 12:44.

The Lakers kept pace scoring another goal putting the team up 6-2 with a goal scored by #11 Kevin Kurm and assisted by #71 Patrick Sofer. Time of the sixth goal, 13:37 on the Power Play.

Penalty problems are starting to plague the Stars. #27 Cary Brown was hit with a boarding penalty at 15:42.

The Lakers poured cold water on what is becoming a very frustrated North Stars team with another power play goal to go up 7-2. The puck was popped into the net by #8 Merritt Rysavy and assisted by Jordan Christianson and Colton Spicer at 16:05 .

Coach Smith is going to have his work cut out for both him and the North Stars during the second intermission. His Stars are being out-skated and out hustled. Chances are the dressing room will be a place for a dressing down to get his team re-focused for the third period.

The Lakers are starting to run this one up. An eighth goal was scored with 17.6 seconds left in the period. Scoring for the increasingly confident Lakers was scored unassisted by Colton Spicer, his second of the game.

Shots on goal through two periods total North Star 15 shots and the Lakers 21.

Third Period Action

The N-Stars have their work cut out for them with 20 minutes left. The home team needs six goals to tie up tonight’s contest.

#21 Desrossiers slide a long shot in from the point, that Jayme Brattengeier handled.

The Lakers are looking confident, and the North Stars are playing frustrated. Perhaps some of that is coming via the officials who have been undecided on where exactly the play should go. With three minutes played in the period, the referees moved the faceoff to three different locations.

The Lakers #28 Miles Nolan was called for an illegal equipment violation and assessed a ten minute misconduct.

Fort Frances is on the power play after Alex Vaillant was called, at 7:22 for slashing. The Lakers are peppering the North Stars net with shots. That led to another power play goal, scored with one second left in the penalty. Scoring for the Lakers was #13  Jordan Christianson assisted #17 Jacob Nolan. Time of the goal 9:22.

The North Stars got one back with some solid hard work fighting for the puck in the Laker’s end. Scoring the North Stars third goal was #24  Bryce Maggrah, his second of the game. Maggrah was assisted by #26 Paul  Sysco and #27 Cary Brown.

The North Stars took advantage of sloppy play by the Lakers to score a fourth goal with 6:25 left.

The N-Stars goal was scored by #8 Mathias Gardiman and assisted by #4 Matt Kaarela and #19Adam Restoule. Time of the goal, 13:45.

The effort by the North Stars is likely coming a little late in the game, but is making the game more of a contest.

#28 of the North Stars, Trevor Hynnes was tagged for two minutes for slashing. The Lakers have not had their best period of hockey in the third, but they put out enough production in the first two periods to afford a little coasting in the third.

The Lakehead University Thunderwolves are on the road tonight in Windsor and headed to overtime tied at a pair of goals each.

The North Stars are at home for a three game home stand starting on Friday February 8th against the very powerful Minnesota Wilderness. The first game of the series will be at the Port Arthur Stadium, and the Saturday/Sunday matches are back at Fort William Gardens.

The team will have their work cut out for them against the league leading Wilderness.

Putting the game completely away the Lakers potted a tenth goal with 44.9 seconds left. #15 Payton Ruterscored, and #16 David Smith assisted.

Final score tonight Fort Frances Lakers 10 and Thunder Bay North Stars 4.