THUNDER BAY – Sports – A Jeremy Johnson unassisted goal 1:43 into the second overtime period lifted the Minnesota Wilderness to a 3-2 victory over the Fort Frances Lakers in game 6 of the Superior International Junior Hockey League’s Bill Salonen Cup final at ’52 Canadians Arena at the Memorial Sports Centre in Fort Frances.
With the triumph the Wilderness win the Bill Salonen Cup in six games coming away victorious with their third consecutive SIJHL championship.
SIJHL Champions Three Straight Years
Each side found the back of the net in the opening period with Nick McCormack scoring at 8:06 while Kevin Kurm connected on the power play with 79 seconds to go in the session.
The Lakers took the lead at the four-minute mark of the middle frame as Owen Stauber struck during a man advantage opportunity to put the home side up 2-1 after 40 minutes.
With the two sides playing four skaters aside the Wilderness forced extra time as Joseph Drapluk stuffed in the equalizer with 8:55 to go in regulation past Lakers’ netminder Talor Joseph.
After a scoreless 10-minute OT the Wilderness won it early in the second extra period as Johnson stripped the puck off a Fort Frances defender behind the net and quickly deposited the championship winner tally past a surprised Joseph to end the series.
Shots on goal favoured the visitors by a 40-31 margin.
As SIJHL champions, the Wilderness now advance to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship in North Bay April 30 through May 4.
Bill Salonen Cup final schedule
Game 1: Wilderness 5 Lakers 1
Game 2: Lakers 2 Wilderness 1 (OT)
Game 3: Wilderness 4 Lakers 1
Game 4: Wilderness 5 Lakers 3
Game 5: Lakers 3 Wilderness 1
Game 6: Wilderness 3 Lakers 2 (OT)