Lakers rise to No. 9


Good news comes in threes, too.
The Fort Frances Lakers strengthened their hold on first place in the SIJHL with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Iron Rangers here Saturday night.
Fort Frances (34-9-0-1) won its second-straight game, fourth in the last five, and 17th in the past 19 outings.
The victory was followed by word yesterday that the Lakers had moved up one spot to No. 9 in the latest CJHL top 20 weekly rankings after sitting at No. 10 the past three weeks.
To top it off, Lakers’ goalie Nathan Park captured the Amyotte’s Awards and Promotions Corp. player-of-the-week honour yesterday.
Park had 19 saves against the Rangers, and stopped a combined 39-of-41 shots in two games this past week to earn the award.
The Edmonton product, who turns 20 tomorrow, has a 9-1 record and leads the SIJHL in GAA (1.43) and save percentage (.943).
Dylan Robertson notched a pair of goals in Saturday night’s win and also added an assist as the Lakers officially eliminated the second-place Thunder Bay North Stars (25-21-4) from the race for first place.
Strangely, third-place Minnesota (23-17-6) and the fourth-place Dryden GM Ice Dogs (24-20-2) still have mathematical shots at catching Fort Frances.
But the Lakers’ magic number to clinch is down to three over the Iron Rangers and one over the Ice Dogs.
Fort Frances played Saturday without forwards Matt Vela and Nolan Ross (upper-body injuries), as well as defenceman Roshen Jaswal (healthy scratch).
Vela is expected to miss one-two weeks while Ross will need to be re-evaluated.
He is out indefinitely.
The Lakers can dash Dryden’s faint hopes of first place when they visit the Ice Dogs in their next game tomorrow.
Fort Frances’ next home game is this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against the North Stars.