Lakers nab first victory

Staff

A sigh of relief could be heard throughout “Laker Nation” on Saturday.
Jack Bernie had two goals and an assist, including the game-winner on the power play with 1:06 left in regulation time, as the Fort Frances Lakers earned their first win of the SIJHL regular season by doubling the Minnesota Iron Rangers 4-2 down in Hoyt Lakes.
“I thought Jack had struggled early in the year so I reached out to him to tell him my thoughts,” noted Lakers head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“I think it hit a nerve and the wake-up button,” he noted.
“He [Bernie] has worked hard lately in our last two-three games and, as a result, has created more opportunities offensively for us.”
The Lakers (1-3-0-1) were in unfamiliar territory in going winless in their first four games—a longer streak of futility than they had at any point last season.
After Bernie opened the scoring at 4:53 of the first, Logan Froberg (short-handed) and former Laker Isaiah Olschewske put the Iron Rangers (1-4) in front before the end of the period.
Oliver Alcock tied the game in the second with his first goal as a Laker.
The Lakers went ahead to stay when Bernie tucked home a rebound from a point shot behind Iron Rangers’ goalie Alex Burke to spoil what was a fantastic 44-save outing.
Jun Yi (Frank) Zhong added an empty-netter with five seconds left to seal the win.
Billy Gorn made 36 saves as he and forward Jacob Longmore both made their season debuts after being sidelined by injuries since the pre-season.
But the Lakers will have to do without forward Matt Cheetham, who hurt his wrist Oct. 1 against the Thunder Bay North Stars and may be out for as much as four-six weeks.
The squad next hosts the North Stars (5-2-1) this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.