Flyers sneak past Lakers in shootout

Dan Falloon

If not for the shootout, the Sioux Lookout Flyers and Fort Frances Lakers still might be playing Tuesday night’s game.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the three periods of regulation time nor in overtime, and only Sioux Lookout’s A.J. Wensley was able to tally in the shootout as the third-place Flyers (19-25-2) eked out a 1-0 win over the fifth-place Lakers (11-25-5).
Lakers’ goalie Jameson Shortreed was superb in net, and the stats sheet shows he recorded his second-consecutive shutout.
In fact, he hasn’t allowed a goal since the 2:42 mark of the third period of the Lakers’ 4-3 win over the Flyers back on Jan. 19—a span of 142:18.
But the streak didn’t relieve the sting of losing for Shortreed, who made 46 saves Tuesday night.
“It’s always tough to lose in a shootout,” a disheartened Shortreed said.
The 16-year-old rookie can’t beat himself up for the loss as he stoned Darren Turner twice in the first minute of the second period after Turner collected his own rebound but fired it into a sliding Shortreed.
Later in the second, Galen Matyjaka tried to outwait Shortreed but the goalie was slightly more patient, slipping his left pad in the way of Matyjaka’s shot.
Meanwhile, the Lakers came closest to scoring in the final minute of regulation time when captain Tyler Stevenson was sprung on a partial breakaway—only to be stymied by goalie Peter Emery.
Overtime solved nothing, leading the Lakers to their third shootout of the season.
After Turner, Adam Wensley, and Dwight Lee all were shut down by Shortreed, A.J. Wensley’s shot to the low right side made the twine ripple for the first time all night.
Meanwhile, Stevenson, Cody Edwards, and Blake Boaz were unable to beat Emery by the time Wensley scored, leaving Byron Katapaytuk needing to score to keep the contest going.
His shot beat Emery but not the post, clanking off the iron as Emery and the Flyers roared in celebration.
With the loss, the Lakers dropped to 0-3 in shootouts on the year and 3-2 on their current six-game homestand, which wraps up tomorrow night against the first-place Fort William North Stars.
Lakers’ coach Wayne Strachan was deflated by the loss, especially after his team didn’t play up to its potential for the first two periods.
“I’m really disappointed,” he remarked. “I thought during the first two periods, we’d gotten away from what had made us successful in the past few games.
“We were sloppy, we had a lot of bad habits, and we got into playing their game,” he recalled.
Strachan felt the Lakers put up a better effort in the third period, but were stonewalled by Emery, who improved to 2-5 since joining Sioux Lookout in a trade with Dryden, where he went 13-2.
“In the third, we did a good job of defending our own zone and creating scoring chances,” Strachan noted. “We probably got the two or three best scoring chances of the game in the third.”
He was thrilled with the play of Shortreed, who now has turned aside 82-consecutive shots over his two-game shutout streak.
“Jameson was probably the only reason it was 0-0 after two periods,” stressed Strachan. “He had to make some big saves to keep us in the game.
“We had to capitalize on our chances to reward him.”