The surging Thunder Bay North Stars used a hat trick from Keighan Gerrie to skate to their seventh-straight win in a 6-3 decision over the Fort Frances Lakers in SIJHL action last night at the Fort William Gardens.
The Lakers (9-10-0-0) actually opened the scoring when captain Nick Lucas forced a turnover near Thunder Bay’s blueline and fed the puck to an open Jaedin Ness, who lifted a backhander past North Stars’ goalie Brock Aiken.
But the North Stars (17-1-1-0) countered a couple of minutes later when Kyle Auger fired a cross-ice pass to Ryan Mignault, who whipped a one-timer past Lakers’ netminder Jacob Gnidziejko at 6:32.
The Lakers went up 2-1 early in the second on a man-advantage when Noah Loveday jammed in a rebound off a Kirk Coppock point blast at 4:59.
The North Stars were quick to draw even once more, however, as Mignault chipped the puck free off the boards over to Gerrie, who flew down the left wing and deked out Gnidziejko to neatly tuck the puck into the open side.
Thunder Bay then took its first lead late in the frame when Alex Erwin finished off a 2-on-1 with Jacob Anttonen at 18:16.
Gerrie notched his second of the night five minutes into the third when he beat Gnidziejko after taking a feed from Joel Willan to push it to 4-2.
Picking up a power play, the Lakers moved the puck around, which eventually left Colton Bodnar with a tap-in at 8:10 to make it a one-goal game again.
But the North Stars sealed the win by tallying twice in a 48-second span, with Gerrie finishing off his hat trick before Alex Erwin added another.
Willan, Mignault, and Ben Erwin all had two assists for Thunder Bay.
Aiken finished with 40 stops to pick up the victory while Gnidziejko faced 34 shots in defeat.
The fourth-place Lakers resume action tomorrow night when they host those same North Stars at the Ice For Kids Arena before welcoming the second-place Red Lake Miners (14-4-0-0) on Saturday.
Both games start at 7:30 p.m.