A week-long break didn’t end up paying immediate dividends for the Fort Frances Lakers.
The Lakers (15-8-1) returned from their hiatus with a 5-4 loss last night to the host Thunder Bay North Stars (also 15-8-1).
The first period was a wild one, with five goals in a 7:04 stretch in the latter half of the frame.
Mitch Marostica opened the scoring for Thunder Bay with a power-play marker at 10:42.
Lakers’ captain Tyler Stevenson drew Fort Frances even 2:10 later with his league-best 24th goal, but the North Stars boosted their lead to a pair as Kyle Bruekelman notched a goal just 23 seconds after Stevenson before Riley Marsh tallied at 16:51.
Jace Baldwin got the Lakers back to within one just 55 seconds after Marsh’s goal, beating Jay Pelletier for his eighth of the season.
The Lakers scored twice on just four shots in the opening period.
Fort Frances tied the game once again in the second period when Henry Gutierrez buried a penalty shot at 5:12.
The goal was Gutierrez’s seventh of the season.
But Thunder Bay regained the advantage before the period was through as Mitch Galbraith beat Tyler Ampe at 16:54, making it 4-3.
Marsh’s second of the night, coming at 5:23 of the third, gave the North Stars their second two-goal advantage—and this time they didn’t relinquish it.
Ryan Wildman drew the Lakers within one, putting up his fourth of the year at 16:12, but that was as close as the visitors would get.
Ampe stopped 48 shots in the losing cause while Pelletier had to make just 19 saves to earn the victory.
The Lakers are back in action tomorrow (Nov. 26) when they host the Sioux Lookout Flyers (5-16-3) at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Although they sit last in the SIJHL, the Flyers have been a tough opponent for the Lakers, accounting for two of their five wins, including one in overtime.
The Lakers still lead the season series 3-1-1.
In related news, the Lakers are holding a food drive in support of the local Salvation Army and United Native Friendship Centre at tomorrow night’s game.
Then the team will hold a toy drive at their next home game, which is slated for Nov. 30 versus Dryden.