Lakers up 2-0 on Miners

Joey Payeur

Peppi Pace needs his players to pick up the pace or their next two home games will be their last for this season.
Filling in for absent general manager and head coach Kevin Kahoot, Pace watched his English River Miners put in two good nights of work without any payoff as the host Fort Frances Lakers swept the first two games of their best-of-seven semi-final series.
The Lakers opened with a 4-1 win in Game 1 on Friday, but didn’t grab full control of the game until a pair of third-period markers by Bryce Lipinski and Bryson Jasper made it 4-0.
Miles Nolan (power play) and Cody Wickstorm also scored for Fort Frances.
Taylor Bargar finally broke through for the Miners at 13:05 of the third with the man-advantage—ending a streak of 49-straight penalty kills by the Lakers covering 13 games.
Devin Tappenden made 24 saves to earn the win while Greg Harney had 30 stops in a losing cause.
Then in Game 2 on Saturday, the teams were tied 3-3 after 40 minutes.
But Cam Jackson’s point blast at 5:36 of the third proved to be the difference as the Lakers triumphed 4-3 in front of a crowd right around the 500 mark for the second-straight night.
Nolan, Lyndon Lipinski (short-handed) and Kyle Lipinski (power play) also scored for the Lakers, with Tappenden posting a 26-save effort.
Devan Vander Wyk, Chris Hrabec (power play), and Dominic Blouin replied for English River.
P.D. Melgoza was outstanding in defeat, turning aside 44 shots.
The scene now shifts to Ear Falls for Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Friday.
Game 5, if necessary, is slated for next Sunday (April 6) at 7:30 p.m. at the ’52 Canadians Arena (due to the ice show).
If needed, Game 6 would be back in Ear Falls on April 8, with a Game 7 set for Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the IFK Arena.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Iron Rangers stole home-ice advantage Saturday with a 4-2 win over the host Thunder Bay North Stars in Game 2 of the other semi-final showdown.
The North Stars had opened the series with a 2-0 victory in Game 1 on Friday night.
Game 3 of that series goes tomorrow in Hoyt Lakes, Mn., with Game 4 there Wednesday.