Lakers split with Flyers


Another weekend, another split of a home-and-home series for the Fort Frances Lakers (4-3).
The local Junior ‘A’ squad faced its second doubleheader in as many weekends, this time dropping a 5-4 match-up to the host Sioux Lookout Flyers (2-5) on Friday night before returning home and earning a 4-0 win Saturday.
Tyler Stevenson, Byron Katapaytuk, and Jace Baldwin, who sit first, second, and third in SIJHL scoring, led the way here with a goal and an assist each.
In net, Tyler Ampe turned aside all 30 shots he faced to register his first shutout as a Laker, as well as the team’s first goose egg of the season.
Katapaytuk opened the scoring Saturday on the power play by burying a shot past Flyers’ goalie Jordan Giguere at 8:38 of the first after the puck came right to him following a Cody Hasbargen drive that ricocheted off a Flyers’ defenceman.
It was Katapaytuk’s fifth of the young season.
Baldwin then fooled Giguere with the man-advantage later in the second for his third tally of the year.
Baldwin had lofted a harmless-looking shot towards the net. But with Lakers’ forwards in front, Giguere was playing a redirection that never came and the puck beat him untouched at 14:29 of the second.
Fort Frances began to put its foot down early in the third as Davis Smith unleashed a howitzer just 37 seconds into the frame for his second goal of the season.
Stevenson added the icing on the doughnut, tapping in a tic-tac-toe feed from Blake Boaz via Baldwin.
Giguere finished with 25 saves on the night.
The Flyers had a much finer goaltending performance in Friday’s game in which Jesse Wilkins turned aside an astonishing 51 shots in the 5-4 win.
Wilkins’ offence gave him some support in the first period as Chase Dobranski and Brett Ferguson tallied 2:21 apart late in the frame.
Stevenson and Henry Gutierrez, netting his first goal of the season, responded with tallies 40 seconds apart midway through the second to bring the Lakers back into a tie.
But Dobranski struck for a short-handed marker at 14:57 to put the Flyers in the lead for good, then Galen Matyjanka followed with a goal at 19:06 to double Sioux Lookout’s lead.
The Flyers chased Lakers’ starting goalie Jameson Shortreed early in the third when Ian Alcock made it 5-2.
The switch from Shortreed to Ampe sparked the Lakers a bit as Jaret Leclair tallied his first at 7:05 before Stevenson notched a last-minute power-play marker at 19:23.
But Wilkins shut the door the rest of the way.
Shortreed stopped 23 shots in his time of work while Ampe turned away all five he saw.
The Lakers will be back in action tomorrow night (Oct. 5) when the expansion Duluth Clydesdales make their first-ever trip to the Ice For Kids Arena at 7:30 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early, though, as the team will honour its late assistant coach, Bob Mainville, with a ceremony slated to begin around 7:10 p.m.