The Fort Frances Lakers have found ways to win in early SIJHL action.
After beating host Sioux Lookout 4-1 on Friday night, the Lakers beat the expansion Wisconsin Wilderness 5-2 here yesterday to wrap up pre-season play with a perfect 5-0 record.
The Lakers outscored their opponents 27-11 over that stretch.
But the real tests start this Friday (Sept. 17) when the defending champion Fort William North Stars come to town to kick off the SIJHL regular season.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Fort William opted to take a western swing for its exhibition activity, registering a 1-2 record against the Portage Terriers and Winnipeg South Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
After pressing the Wilderness goalie for much of the first period yesterday, the Lakers finally broke through on the power-play at 16:11 when Blake Boaz wired a shot past John McLean.
The lead grew 2:46 later when Jon Sinclair knocked one past McLean for his fifth goal of the pre-season. The former Fort Frances Jr. Sabre later added an assist to give him a team-leading eight points.
Wisconsin struck back in the second period, tying the game against Lakers’ starting goalie Derrick Peitsh.
Austin Adduono accounted for both goals, tapping home short-range shots at 1:49 and then 7:03.
But the Lakers took the lead for good late in the frame with the man advantage when Henry Gutierrez took a Phil Jennrich feed and ripped home his third goal in as many games at 17:16.
Jennrich scored the Lakers’ third power-play goal of the game at 12:57 of the third, deflecting a Marty McFadden shot past McLean.
Byron Katapaytuk rounded out the scoring when he knocked home his third goal of the pre-season into an empty net.
Peitsh made 13 saves in his half of the game while Tyler Ampe stopped all 12 shots he saw for the Lakers.
McLean turned aside 34 for Wisconsin.
In Friday night’s win over the Flyers, the Lakers responded to a Casey Mertens power-play goal at 13:46 of the first.
Sinclair and captain Tyler Stevenson tallied 1:11 apart early in the second, with Gutierrez adding some insurance at 8:09.
Katapaytuk added the empty-netter with 41 seconds left in regulation time.
Ampe made 16 saves, allowing just the one goal, while Peitsch was flawless on the 17 shots he faced.
The Flyers’ tandem of Jordan Giguere and Jesse Wilkins turned aside 37 of 40 shots fired their way.
The Lakers finished the pre-season 10-for-37 on the power-play—a 27 percent success rate.