The Fort Frances Lakers blew a three-goal lead before hanging on to edge the Thief River Falls Norskies 4-3 in a shootout last night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The victory avenged a 4-1 loss to the Norskies there Saturday night as the fourth-place Lakers improved their SIJHL record to 6-7-0-0 (12 points).
Thief River Falls (4-6-2-1) sits a point back in fifth place.
Jaedin Ness and Kirk Coppock gave the Lakers a 2-0 lead just over five minutes into last night’s game.
Ness then netted his second of the night (fourth overall) 4:39 into the second stanza to put the visitors up by three.
Blake Nelson put the Norskies on the board at 8:49 to make it 3-1 after two periods.
Nelson scored again at 14:27 of the third to cut the lead to one, then the Norskies tied it with less than two minutes to go in regulation time when Brett Piper notched his team-leading ninth goal of the season.
After overtime solved nothing, it took six rounds of a shootout to determine the winner.
Each team connected once in the regular three rounds of the shootout, with Nick Lucas converting for the Lakers and Piper for the Norskies.
After both teams failed to score in the fourth and fifth rounds, Mackenzie Flett won it for the Lakers when his attempt eluded Thief River Falls’ goalie Bailey Schmitz.
Jacob Gnidziejko made 37 stops in regulation and
overtime, as well as five-of-six in the shootout, to record the win.
Schmitz made 26 saves, and four more in the shootout, to get tagged with the loss.
The Lakers next host the last-place Minnesota Iron Rangers (2-12-0-0) tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The Norskies then will be here Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. showdown.
The Thunder Bay North Stars (10-1-1-0) continue to lead the six-team SIJHL, with the Red Lake Miners (10-2-0-0) sitting one point behind in second place.
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs (6-4-2-0) are in third place–two points up on the Lakers.
Editor’s note: This story was compiled using information posted on the SIJHL’s website.