Lakers drop all three home games


The home cooking didn’t taste so good for the Fort Frances Lakers over the weekend.
The squad lost all three games played at the Ice For Kids Arena, which included a narrow 3-2 setback to the Thief River Falls Norskies on Friday before being blanked 2-0 by the red-hot Thunder Bay North Stars the following night.
The fifth-place Lakers (16-31-2-1) then had the weekend conclude on a very sour note with a 9-2 thrashing at the hands of the visiting Dryden GM Ice Dogs yesterday afternoon.
The Ice Dogs’ trio of Eric Stout, Trygve Many Guns, and Cameron Coutre combined for eight points as Dryden roared to victory yesterday.
Fort Frances did start off well as Jaedin Ness opened the scoring nearly seven minutes into the first period as he was fed a stretch pass by Brett Hahkala and broke in all alone before firing a rocket past Ice Dogs’ goalie Jordan Wilde.
But the Ice Dogs struck back with three tallies before the first frame was complete.
Eric Stout tallied back-to-back within five minutes before Kevin Parra-Vaughan unloaded a cannon of a shot from the point that beat Lakers’ goalie Matt Booth to put the visitors up 3-1 after 20 minutes.
Dryden then tacked on three more in the second off the sticks of Coutre, Jacob Siebenga, and Rayman Bassi to make it 6-1.
Anthony Antonelli got one back for the Lakers during a man advantage later in the frame as his slapshot trimmed it to 6-2 after 40 minutes.
The Ice Dogs then sealed the win in the third as Malcolm Huemmert, Coutre, and Tyler Browning all bulged the twine to cap the scoring.
Many Guns finished with three helpers in the triumph while Stout’s two-goal, one-assist performance saw him extend his point streak to 12-straight games.
Dryden outshot Fort Frances 57-20, with Wilde picking up the win while Booth suffered the loss.
On Saturday night, it was Lakers’ goalie Jacob Gnidziejko who stole the show as he came up with a stellar 50-save performance in the setback.
Despite peppering Gnidziejko with 19 shots, the league-leading North Stars (44-3-1-1) couldn’t solve him throughout the first 20 minutes.
Gnidziejko came up time and again with big saves, which included thwarting a difficult 2-on-1 chance for the North Stars.
But Thunder Bay finally connected late in the second frame as Jacob Brown scored on his club’s 37 shot of the game when he pounced on a Lakers’ miscue before firing it past Gnidziejko.
It stayed that way until the final moments of regulation time when Michael Stubbs fired an empty-netter with 10.9 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Dougie Newhouse handled all 24 shots he faced to record his fifth shutout of the season.
The victory also was the 12th in a row for Newhouse as he improved to 18-1-1 in his past 20 appearances for the North Stars.
The Lakers had opened the weekend with a narrow setback to the third-place Norskies (29-18-4-1) on Friday night.
After Boe Bjore had skated into the Lakers’ zone and had his initial shot stopped, Brett Piper opened the scoring as he buried the rebound past Gnidziejko 5:51 into the first period.
Ethan Knutsen then drew the Lakers even in the second when he grabbed the rebound of Dane Bateman’s shot in the slot before firing it past Norskies’ goalie Fletcher at 9:20.
But Piper came through with his second of the night just over three minutes later when he banged a loose puck past Gnidziejko to put the Norskies ahead 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Kirk Coppock evened things once again 13:57 into the third when he buried one into the open side after Isaac Baron sent him a cross-crease feed on a 2-on-1 chance.
But Blake Nelson put the Norskies ahead for good with 3:20 left as he fired a cross-ice pass from Jake Esichen past Gnidziejko.
The Lakers had a great chance with a man advantage late in the frame in which they pulled Gnidziejko to make it a 6-on-4 but couldn’t notch the equalizer.
Bolda made 33 saves to earn the win while Gnidziejko turned aside 40 shots in taking the loss.
The Lakers resume action tomorrow night when they hit the road to face the second-place Red Lake Miners (33-15-2-0) at the Cochenour Arena.
Fort Frances then will host the Norskies again this Friday (March 8) at 7:30 p.m. before capping the week by welcoming the last-place Minnesota Iron Rangers (3-49-0-0) on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Both games will be played at the Ice For Kids Arena.