It’s going to be quite the test if the Fort Frances Lakers are to stay at or above the .500 mark over the next while.
The Lakers found that out first-hand Friday night as the Red Lake Miners used a three-goal third period to earn a 5-1 win in SIJHL action at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Captain Michael Di Lullo opened the scoring for the second-place Miners (12-4-0-0) just 4:44 into the first period when he fired home a centering pass from the corner from teammate Morgan Venne.
Chase Robideau had a great chance to get the fourth-place Lakers (9-9-0-0) on the board later in the frame on a breakaway chance but he was stopped with a beauty of pad save by Miners’ goalie Zach Willms.
Keegan Tiringer, who was recently acquired by the Miners, doubled the visitor’s lead 15:35 into the second for his first SIJHL goal.
Nick Hahkala finally put the Lakers on the board less than a minute later when he one-timed a pass from Kaleb Bruyere past Willms to trim it to 2-1 after 40 minutes.
But the wheels fell off from there.
An odd-man rush chance led to Bryce Young beating Lakers’ goalie Jacob Gnidziejko just 10 seconds into the third.
Shaye Sommerfeld snapped home a centering pass at 6:06 before Venne capped the scoring just over a minute later by capitalizing on a lucky break when a Lakers’ defender lost his balance and fell to the ice.
Willms made 35 saves to earn the win while Gnidziejko faced 29 shots in a losing cause.
The Lakers return to action Wednesday night when they hit the road to face the top-ranked Thunder Bay North Stars (16-1-1-0) at the Fort William Gardens.
They then return home Friday to host those same North Stars before welcoming the Miners again the following night at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Both games start at 7:30 p.m.