Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lakers sweep Miners

Can the Fort Frances Lakers see the Bill Salonen Cup in their sights?
Yes, they “KAN.”

Thanks largely to the “KAN Line” of Kevin Kurm, Brent Aiken, and Miles Nolan, the Fort Frances Lakers completed a four-game sweep of the English River Miners in their best-of-seven SIJHL semi-final with a 7-3 victory in Game 4 on Friday night in Ear Falls.
That sets the stage for what should be a fiercely-contested battle with the Minnesota Iron Rangers, who concluded their upset of the Thunder Bay North Stars with a 3-2 victory yesterday in Hoyt Lakes to take their semi-final series 4-2.
The schedule for the best-of-seven final was not officially announced as of press time today.
But it was confirmed this morning that the Ice For Kids Arena has been booked for Games 1 and 2 this Friday and Saturday, with the puck to drop at 7:30 p.m. both nights.
Kurm and Aiken each had a goal and three assists Friday night.
Nolan, meanwhile, continued his stupendous play this playoff season with a pair of goals as part of a three-point night that gave him seven points in his last two games and a team-high 12 in only six games this post-season.
“As good as Miles has been, I think his line has played well and was a huge part of our success through the series with the Miners,” noted Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“As I have said about Miles, the line has played hard, kept the game simple, moved the puck effectively, got under the skin of the other team, and capitalized in a big way on their offensive chances, as well as taking care of their own end, which led to a lot of their offence,” he remarked.
The “DLM Line” also got its licks in Friday night, with Lucas DeBenedet assisting on goals by linemates Mason Meyer (short-handed) and Lyndon Lipinski.
Riley Daly had the other Laker goal while Jordan Cartney made 14 saves in his first start since Feb. 28.
“We had discussed the possibility of Jordan playing in the series for many days and once we won Game 3 and the rough stuff started, we felt it was a good chance to get him some action,” Strachan explained in starting Cartney over Devin Tappenden.
The Lakers were without defenceman Tanner Fricke, who was handed a one-game suspension for his game misconduct in the final 10 minutes of Game 3 for fighting.
Four of the Miners’ regulars joined Fricke as spectators, with Kellen McBlain, Will Wickersham, Taylor Bargar, and goalie P.D. Melgoza all handed the same punishment for their part in the Game 3 fracas.
Paul Lamoureux, Royce King, and Eric Masters (power play) scored for English River.
Greg Harney made 27 saves in the loss.
The Lakers, meantime, are hoping the third time’s the charm after losing in the past two finals to the Wisconsin Wilderness (2012) and the Minnesota Wilderness (2013).

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