Lakers fall on home ice
The Fort Frances Lakers missed a golden opportunity to move into sole possession of second place in the SIJHL on Saturday night after falling 3-1 to the visiting Minnesota Iron Rangers.
“It was definitely a step in the wrong direction for us and I don’t think we were ready to play,” said Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“But the bottom line is that I don’t really think that we made a case to win the hockey game with how we play in the first period and in parts of the second,” he added.
“We had our moments later in the second and we didn’t really show our true game until the third period, but it was too little, too late.”
The Lakers (25-15-1-2) remained tied for second place with the Dryden Ice Dogs—a deadlock that be broken tomorrow night when the teams clash at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Jordan Christianson netted the lone goal for the Lakers during the second period of Saturday’s game, although they had a chance to tie the game in the third while on a power play.
“Even though our power play has been improving, and we did score a goal tonight with the man advantage, it’s still complacent and predicable at times,” Strachan lamented.
“You can pass the puck around the perimeter all you want, and while it may look nice, at some point you need to put pucks to the net and that’s not happening on a consistent basis,” he stressed.
“I do think it’s getting better, though, and hopefully we have it going for when it really matters in the playoffs.”
The Iron Rangers were led by a pair of goals from Sawyer Jacobson while Joey Haddock iced the victory with a marker late in the third.
“We are both battling for places in the standings right now and every game is crucial,” stressed Iron Rangers’ head coach Chris Walby.
“We’ve played more games than the Lakers, so to try and get a win up here was critical,” he noted.
“And you could see that tonight with the playoff atmosphere on display.”
Iron Rangers’ goalie Chase Hollander turned aside 46 shots while Jameson Shortreed made 26 saves in a losing effort.
In other Lakers’ news, Christianson was named the SIJHL’s player-of-the-month for January on Friday afternoon.
The 20-year-old from International Falls, in his second season with the Lakers, had five goals and 11 assists in five games last month.