Lakers’ slide hits three


Sounds like somebody had a case of the Mondays.
The Fort Frances Lakers (19-10-2) saw its losing streak hit three games with a 5-4 overtime loss to the visiting Duluth Clydesdales (7-19-2) last night.
The skid is the team’s longest such string of the season.
Things didn’t get off to a great start for the home side as Duluth’s Chris Palm beat Lakers’ goalie Jameson Shortreed high on the blocker side 5:15 into the game.
The goal came with just six seconds left in a penalty to Lakers’ forward Dan Smith, who was playing against Duluth for the first time since being swapped for Mike Jourdain on Dec. 1.
Jourdain had a hand in the Clydesdales’ second goal, earning an assist when Joe Nelson swung out in front of the Lakers’ net and sniped a shot to Shortreed’s right at 12:31.
The assist was Jourdain’s first point in three games with Duluth.
The Lakers got one back shortly after as Blake Boaz forced a turnover in the corner to the left of Clydesdales’ goalie Jeff Dunaisky.
The puck came out to Matt Caulfield, who ripped a shot high to the glove side on Dunaisky for his fourth of the season at 15:07.
Duluth restored its two-goal cushion just 46 seconds into the middle frame when Dane Morin whacked a close-range shot over the line.
The Lakers then caught a bad break at the 12:32 mark of the second as Dunaisky knocked the net ajar moments before a Tyler Stevenson shot from the circle to the goalie’s left rippled the twine.
The net already had come loose a handful of times earlier in the period, compounding the home side’s frustration.
Fort Frances didn’t let the tough break discourage them, though, as Jace Baldwin took a pretty cross-crease feed from Jordan Sinclair at 14:28 and slammed the puck past Dunaisky.
The tally was Baldwin’s 11th.
The Lakers then knotted things at 3-3 before the period was through when Morgan McNeill wristed a shot from the blueline that hit a Duluth skate and went into the net at 18:57.
The goal, McNeill’s third, came during a five-on-three advantage.
The Lakers looked poised to complete the comeback midway through the third as Caulfield scooped up a puck to Dunaisky’s right and tossed it towards the net, where it banked in off of Henry Gutierrez.
Gutierrez’s ninth of the season put the Lakers up 4-3 at 10:48.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Clydesdales’ captain Tom Paine was allowed to get behind coverage, collecting a pass from Nelson and finding the top corner glove-side on Shortreed.
Knotted at 4-4, the game went to overtime, when Duluth’s Julius Tamasy’s wrister from the right circle beat Shortreed high to give Duluth its first win over the Lakers in six tries.
Shortreed made 25 saves while Dunaisky stopped 33 shots for Duluth.
The Lakers will look to break their losing skid tomorrow night (Dec. 15) when they visit the Dryden Ice Dogs (20-12-0).
Then they’ll return home for a Friday showdown against the league-leading Wisconsin (20-6-2) at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena before breaking for two weeks for Christmas.