Lakers fall in pair of games


It was a tough weekend for the Fort Frances Lakers.
The squad let a two-goal second-period lead slip away Friday night en route to a 5-4 overtime loss to the host Thief River Falls Norskies before following that up with a 5-2 setback at the hands of the visiting Red Lake Miners the next night at the Ice For Kids Arena here.
The Miners’ trio of Keegan Tiringer, Kyle Uzelman, and Morgan Venne posted three points apiece to help lead their squad to victory.
After some good work in front of the net by Dane Bateman and Nick Hahkala, Reece Hopfner found the loose puck at the right side of the net and jammed it past Miners’ goalie Zach Willms to open the scoring just 34 seconds into the game.
Venne drew the visitors even at 10:35 before Jackson Stephens tallied his first SIJHL goal when he buried a wrist shot from the left side past Lakers’ goalie Matt Booth at 14:20.
Tiringer then netted the rebound of Uzelman’s shot over Booth at 17:41 to stake the Miners to a two-goal cushion after 20 minutes.
The Miners went up 4-1 12:05 into the second when Uzelman cut towards the Lakers’ net before snapping a low shot past Booth.
Stratton Pickett then showed off some deft touch by spinning around and firing his 23rd of the season to put the Miners up by four at 14:44.
The Lakers did get one back just over two minutes into the third when Nate Drobnick blasted a shot from the point over top of Willms on a man advantage but that’s as close as they would get.
Willms made 33 saves to earn the win while Booth faced 39 shots in defeat.
On Friday night, Alec Daman’s goal 2:07 into overtime was the difference as the third-place Norskies (23-14-3-1) rallied to nip the Lakers at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Thief River Falls started strong–skating out to a 2-0 lead in the first on goals by Alec Severson and Blake Nelson (power play).
Showing some resilience, the Lakers answered with two markers of their own later in the frame off the sticks of Jaedin Ness and Nick Lucas (power play) to knot it at 2-2 after 20 minutes.
Brett Hahkala then netted a pair of power-play goals within the first seven minutes of the second to put the Lakers up 4-2.
But the Norskies countered as Blake Nelson and Brett Piper answered for the hosts to knot it at 4-4 after 40 minutes.
After a scoreless third, Daman scored in the early stages of the extra frame to give the Norskies the victory.
Fletcher Bolda made 22 saves to earn the win while Jacob Gnidziejko made 30 stops to earn his side a point.
The fifth-place Lakers (13-23-2-1) resume action tomorrow night against the second-place Miners (27-13-2-0) at the Cochenour Arena.
Then they’ll cap the week with back-to-back road games against the last-place Minnesota Iron Rangers (3-36-0-0) this Friday and Saturday in Hoyt Lakes.