Another night, another win, another jump in the standings.
The Fort Frances Lakers continued their sizzling play to start 2011 with a 4-2 road win last night against the Sioux Lookout Flyers.
The Lakers are on a roll which has seen them move from fourth place to second in the SIJHL standings in less than a week.
Fort Frances (23-11-3) moved one point up on the idle Dryden Ice Dogs (24-14), with the Lakers still holding a game in hand on the Ice Dogs.
As a bonus, the local Junior ‘A’ squad also moved within two points of the league-leading Wisconsin (24-6-3), although the Wilderness have four games in hand on Fort Frances.
The Lakers didn’t have an easy time of it against the fifth-place Flyers (8-23-5), who lost their second-straight.
Sioux Lookout opened the scoring at 6:10 of the first period on a goal by Ian Alcock, but Blake Boaz tied the game 1:27 later with his sixth of the season on a set-up from Tyler Stevenson and newcomer Dane Morin, who was traded here Tuesday from the Duluth Clydesdales for a player to be named next season.
The 19-year-old Morin, a 6’,1”, 190-pound forward from Superior, Wis., had five goals and 11 assists in 30 games with the Clydesdales this season.
Matthew Caulfield netted his fifth of the year at 10:55 to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead heading into the dressing room.
The middle frame was scoreless, due mainly to the work of Lakers’ goalie Tyler Ampe as Sioux Lookout outshot the visitors 14-7 in the second.
Josh Scott then picked an opportune moment to notch his first goal of the campaign on Zach McCool’s second assist of the night at 13:30 of the third.
Chasen Dobranski cut the lead to one with his goal at 15:53, with Alcock picking up his second point.
But Dobranski’s cross-check on a Lakers’ player just 37 seconds later drew the ire of Stevenson, who immediately dropped the gloves and went after Dobranski.
It was a surprise flare-up for Stevenson, who only had 10 penalty minutes in 36 games going into the night, but wound up with an instigating minor, a fighting major, and a game misconduct.
Dobranski also was ejected.
Flyers’ goalie Jesse Wilkins, the reigning SIJHL Pizza Hut Player-of-the-Week, was pulled in the final minute for an extra attacker. But Henry Gutierrez put the game out of reach with an empty-net marker with 14 seconds left.
The Lakers will look to keep up their winning ways with a pair of home games this weekend.
Last-place Duluth (9-26-2), which lost their third in a row with a 4-0 whitewash last night at the hands of the host Thunder Bay North Stars, visits the Ice For Kids Arena on Friday before the fourth-place North Stars (22-16-1) come to town Saturday.
Both games start at 7:30 p.m.