There are better ways to earn two points, but getting those two points in the bank was the top goal for the Fort Frances Lakers.
The local Junior ‘A’ squad earned its second-straight 5-4 win at the Ice For Kids Arena on Friday night, fending off the hard-charging Duluth Clydesdales.
Trailing 5-2, Duluth tallied twice in the dying minutes.
First, Chris Palm’s wrister from the point got past Lakers’ goalie Tyler Ampe’s right foot with 1:36 to go.
Joe Nelson then tallied just 21 seconds later to bring the Clydesdales to within one, but the Lakers were able to fend off the pressure from there and notch the victory.
The late comeback by Duluth was a bit of a surprise considering the Lakers (11-6-1) carried the play for the better part of the first two periods, outshooting the visitors 29-11 through 40 minutes.
But the Clydesdales (5-9-1) were able to get the Lakers scrambled up in their own zone at times, and won the shots battle 11-4 in the third.
Fort Frances took the lead early in the first period when Jace Baldwin banged his sixth of the season past Duluth goalie Jeff Dunaisky at 6:53.
Marty McFadden put another power-play goal on the board, wristing a shot that handcuffed Dunaisky for his second of the year at 17:57.
Lakers’ captain Tyler Stevenson then notched a pair 2:11 apart late in the second period to bring his season total to 19 and the score to 4-0.
The latter goal chased Dunaisky in favour of Derek Robinson.
Duluth got on the board soon after when Josh Wentz whacked an Aaron Dusek set-up past Ampe with 3:56 left in the second.
Casey Eckman then cut the Lakers’ lead to two just 55 seconds into the third when a Dane Morin feed left him with an open cage in which to place the puck.
Matthew Caulfield restored the three-goal margin with just 3:13 to go before Duluth’s late surge.
In all, Ampe made 18 saves while Dunaisky had 23 and Robinson six.
The game also was marred with six player ejections.
Lakers’ defenceman Josh Scott and Duluth captain Tom Paine were tossed for hits from behind in the first period, then Lakers’ forwards Byron Katapaytuk and Brad Bienvenu were tossed for fighting Clydesdales’ defencemen Jason Haydon and Mark Williams.
Fort Frances will be back on the ice tomorrow night (Nov. 9) when they host the league-leading Wisconsin Wilderness (12-2-1), who are coming off of a 9-0 shellacking of Thunder Bay on Saturday night.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
In related news, Lakers’ goalie Jameson Shortreed saw exhibition action for Team West at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Vernon, B.C. on Friday night.
Things didn’t go quite as planned for the 17-year-old Emo native, however, as he allowed five goals in 31:15 as Team West fell 7-2 to Team East.
Shortreed did not play in Team West’s 5-3 loss to the U.S. on Saturday night.
Team West will kick off round-robin play tonight (Nov. 8) against Switzerland in Penticton, B.C.
The squad then will wrap up preliminary action Wednesday with a game against Russia.