SIJHL Playoff Action – North Stars vs Iron Rangers


SIJHLTHUNDER BAY – In SIJHL Playoff action from Fort William Gardens tonight it is the Thunder Bay North Stars taking on the Minnesota Iron Rangers. The deciding game of the series was forced when the Iron Rangers won in last night’s action on their home ice.

SIJHL Playoff Action

A Max Seiter goal midway through the first period proved to be the game-winner as the Iron Rangers defeated the Thunder Bay North Stars 3-1 Tuesday evening in game 2 of their best-of-three Superior International Junior Hockey League play-in series at Hoyt Lakes Arena.

The victory means there will be a third and deciding game in the series, which goes Wednesday evening at the Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay. The opening face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Kyle Fink put the home side on the six minutes into the contest with Seiter extending the cushion to 2-0 at 10:22 of the stanza.

Tonight one of the teams will finish their season. 

At Fort William Gardens tonight, the North Stars are set to go, the teams are warmed up and the last minute strategies are being planned. 


SIJHL Playoff Action
The two teams face off at the start of the first period – Photo James Murray

The North Stars are adding to their scoring punch with the return to the line-up of #4 Matt Kaarela. 

The puck is dropped, Jayme Brattengeier was tested early and stood his ground. 

The North Stars are off to a good start. at 2:26, Matt Kaarella swooped in on net, got off a shot, and the rebound was popped behind Chase Hollander by Trevor Hynnes. The second assist was from Mathias Gardiman.

North Stars off to an early lead.

The N-Stars are doing a good job of fore-checking so far into the first period. 

#17 of the Iron Rangers was open in the slot at the 6:46 mark of the period and got off a testy shot that went just wide. 

Lots of the play however has been in the Iron Ranger’s zone. 

A bit of sloppy puck handling was pounced on at 9:04 with the Minnesota Iron Rangers taking full advantage of the situation to score tying the game. #13Connor Nicholas potted the goal. He was assisted by #9 Riley Daly, and Justin Gregory.

Half -way through the period, the game is tied at a goal apiece.

Attendance at tonight’s game is up slightly from Game One. There is still lots of room in the Fort William Gardens for more fans. As an aside, perhaps all those supporters of a new Event Centre might consider that it is fans in the stands that really matter. 

#4 Matt Kaarela was tagged at 16:09 for slashing giving the Iron Rangers a power play.

The Iron Rangers scored just as Kaarela was let out of the sin bin, taking a 2-1 lead.

Goal was scored by #10 Luke Karakas unassisted at 18:17.

The North Stars however didn’t waste any time tying up the game with a great goal at 18:41. The North Stars goal was scored by #19 Adam Restoule. Assisting #27 Cary Brown and #4 Matt Kaarela. 

The period ends tied at a pair aside.

Shots on goal North Stars 5 and Iron Rangers 10.


In the opening seconds of the period, #3 Max Seiter  of the Iron Rangers got in on a break-away assisted by #46 Tyler Tuneberg.  Time of the goal 1:08.

The N-Stars are battling for the puck, and the action is end to end. 

Through the period, the North Stars and Iron Rangers are fairly evenly matched. The referee is leaving his whistle in his pocket and the teams are offering solid hockey. 

#8 Joey Haydock of the Iron Rangers got off a solid wrist shot – it slide past the N-Star’s netminder to take a 4-2 lead. Tine of the goal assisted by #14 Justin Gregory, at 10:42.

With just under 9 minutes left in the second period, #8 Mathias Gardiman was smacked. He fell to the ice and struggled to get back to his feet.

#28 Trevor Hynnes was tagged for two minutes for charging at 12:10. The penalty was likely a result of the N-Stars sending a message over the smack on Gardiman.

The North Stars have to kill off this penalty, a three goal hole would be a tough one to dig out of.

#21 Martin was hit with a slashing penalty at 15:50. 

Jayme Brattengeier likely made a game saver with 2:45 left in the period. The North Stars were pressing in the Iron Ranger’s zone while shorthanded. Two Iron Rangers swooped in on the N-Star netminder. His glove save was made with great confidence.

Coming out of the penalty box, Martin got off a solid wrist shot that almost got past the I-Ranger goalie.

The ref finally tagged one of the Iron Rangers. #10 Luke Karakas is off for holding for two minutes. Time of the penalty, 18:46. 

The North Stars were passing the puck like the Minnesota Wilderness on the power play. That resulted in a great slap shot from the blue line. That precision passing is going to be needed to score some goals.

At the end of the period, the teams mixed it up in the Iron Rangers end.


SIJHL Thunder Bay North Stars pressing Iron Rangers - Georgia Wenjack photo
Thunder Bay North Stars pressing Iron Rangers – Georgia Wenjack photo

The third period is underway. The North Stars need two to tie and three to win.

The game will likely come down to fitness. The North Stars are playing from a short bench. It is going to take some serious focus and effort to get this game into the win column.

#26 Paul Zysco was hit with a boarding penalty at 3:18.  The N-Stars killed off the penalty. 

The North Stars are really pressing. We are at the halfway point of the third period. The Kaarela line has been pressing the Iron Rangers. The N-Stars are passing with precision and getting some solid chances. 

SIJHL Action
North Stars fighting for the puck. Photo by Georgia Wenjack

#27 big Cary Brown swooped in on net looking like a big jet plane set to rain terror on the Iron Ranger’s net. His effort offered up a great scoring chance.

With six minutes left in the third, the score remains 4-2 Iron Rangers.

The North Stars need a goal. 

Minnesota is starting to look like they can feel the win coming. 

SIJHL Playoff action
Photo by Georgia Wenjack

#9 Riley Daly for the Iron Rangers was hammered with a high sticking penalty with 4:43 left.

The man advantage didn’t last long. #19 Adam Restoule for the North Stars was tagged for four minutes. He ended up with two for high sticking, two for roughing, and a ten minute misconduct.

The misconduct came after Restoule was in the penalty box and he slammed his stick against the glass.

The North Stars popped a goal in with 2:13 left n the game. Scoring the lift giving goal was Mathias Gardiman assisted by Paul Zsyco at 17:46.

With just over a minute left, the North Stars got in on a two man break but the Iron Rangers held them off the score sheet.

The Iron Rangers just iced the game scoring an empty net goal to take a 5-3 lead with 35 seconds left.

#14 Justin Gregory got the power play goal at 19:35.

The Thunder Bay North Stars thank their fans and supporters for their support during the season. 

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