SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup Series Tied Up
FORT FRANCES, Ont – Sports – Matt O’Dea’s redirection goal from in close with six and a half minutes remaining proved to be the difference at the Minnesota Iron Rangers edged the Fort Frances Lakers 3-2 Saturday evening in game 2 of the Bill Salonen Cup Superior International Junior Hockey League championship at Ice for Kids Arena.
With the victory the Iron Rangers even the best-of-seven series at 1-1 as it now shifts to Hoyt Lakes Arena for games 3 and 4 next Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m.
Fort Frances got on the board first as Kevin Kurm notched his second of the postseason at 4:55 of the first.
Following a neutral zone skirmish play opened up as Minnesota tied it moments later as Sam Mancini snapped a low shot from the right side that eluded Lakers’ netminder Devin Tappenden.
The Lakers answered back to restore their lead as Donovan Cousineau slid one past Alex Reichle in the Iron Rangers’ net finishing off the work of Lucas Debenedet, who used his speed to generate the opportunity.
It stayed that way until the latter stages of the middle session as Minnesota pulled even as Mancini’s sharp-angle shot fooled Tappenden to level the proceedings after 40 minutes.
The Iron Rangers would notch the winner in the final frame on the transition as Evan Erickson fed a hard-charging O’Dea in front from the side boards as he calmly deflected in the eventual deciding tally.
Shots on goal favoured the Lakers 34-27 with Reichle picking up the win and Tappenden the loss.
The Bill Salonen Cup winner will advance to represent the league at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Jr. A championship April 29 through May 3 in Wellington, Ont.
They will join the title holders from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and the Ontario Junior Hockey League along with the host Wellington Dukes (OJHL) at the five-day event.
The Soo Thunderbirds took the opener of the NOJHL final edging the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 2-1 in double OT Saturday evening in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Toronto Lakeshore Patriots are up 1-0 on the Aurora Tigers heading into game 2 of the OJHL final Sunday night.
The winner of the Dudley-Hewitt Cup will move on to represent the region at the RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A championship May 10-18 in Vernon, B.C.
SIJHL finals for the Bill Salonen Cup
No. 1 Fort Frances Lakers vs. No. 3 Minnesota Iron Rangers
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Game 1: Fort Frances 1 Minnesota 0 (2OT)
Game 2: Minnesota 3 Fort Frances 2
Game 3: Wednesday, April 16 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes)
Game 4: Thursday, April 17 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes)
Game 5: Saturday, April 19 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. (Ice for Kids)
Game 6*: Monday, April 21 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 23 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. (Ice for Kids)