If hockey was played best two-of-three periods, then the Fort Frances Lakers would have beaten the K&A Wolverines here Saturday night.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, a seven-goal outburst in the second period by the visitors left them on the short end of an 8-5 score.
The game started out well for the Lakers, last in the SIJHL with a 6-19-3 record, as they came out like a team possessed in the first period, peppering Wolverines’ goalie Spencer Malone and seeing two hit the twine.
Justin Erhart, playing his first home game as a Laker, won fans over at 9:37 as he hustled in on a breakaway and popped the puck past Malone for a 1-0 lead.
Just two minutes later, Henry Gutierrez was the beneficiary as a lucky bounce along the boards came to him in the slot.
Fort Frances’ player-of-the-week made no mistake as he wristed a shot to extend the lead to two.
At the other end of the rink, Lakers’ goalie Jameson Shortreed put up a tidy first frame.
With his team killing a 5-on-3, Shortreed kept his shutout intact, sliding from post-to-post to steal a sure goal from K&A’s leading scorer Alex Porrier in the period’s final minute.
Shortreed’s goose egg hatched early in the second period, however, as K&A’s tic-tac-toe power-play unit eventually found Matt Hunter all alone out front.
Hunter’s easy tap-in cut the lead to 2-1 a mere 55 seconds in.
Then less than a minute later, Nathan Spina tied the game after breaking in alone and sending a wrister past Shortreed.
The Lakers tried to rebound with the Wolverines a man down as Erhart took a feed from Tyler Stevenson but couldn’t beat Malone.
Neither could Colton Kennedy’s point shot on the same power-play.
The Wolverines (10-17-5) took advantage after setting up shop in the Lakers’ zone, with Trent Krueger scoring another from in close after taking a feed from David Dawd.
K&A struck again soon after as Hartwell Marable’s weak wrist shot got through Shortreed’s wickets to make it 4-2.
Spina then chased Shortreed from the game when he tapped home his second of the night on a power play.
The Wolverines gave T.J. Pocock a rough welcome between the pipes as Aaron Ross beat him cleanly on the first shot he faced for a 6-2 lead.
Still in the second, the Lakers cut the deficit in half on the power play as Kennedy unleashed a seeing-eye wrist shot that made its way through a heap of players and past Malone.
It was Kennedy’s team-leading 21st tally of the season.
But K&A wasn’t done, scoring with just three seconds left before the second intermission.
Marable netted his second of the game while sitting in the crease after about 10 seconds of furious digging by the Wolverines.
Spina netted his hat trick goal to open the third, breaking in and beating Pocock at 2:01 for an 8-3 lead.
To the Lakers’ credit, they kept hustling.
First, Stevenson swung out front and put his ninth goal of the season over Malone.
Then Jaret LeClair roofed a shot to lift the Lakers to within three with just under three minutes to go, but that was as close as they would get.
The Lakers return to action tomorrow (Dec. 15) at 7:30 p.m. when the Dryden Ice Dogs visit the Ice For Kids Arena.
The second-place Ice Dogs (22-4-4) are coming off a 7-4 win over the Lakers last Wednesday in Dryden.