Lakers win openers

Joey Payeur

Alex Rezansoff is still running wild.
The former Wisconsin Wilderness forward tallied twice both nights to help the Fort Frances Lakers capture a pair of weekend victories in the first two games of the pre-season for the defending SIJHL champs.
Fort Frances doubled the Minnesota Iron Rangers 6-3 here Friday, then eked out a 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting English River Miners on Saturday.
“I’m just trying to keep up the Lakers’ winning tradition,” said the 19-year-old forward from Red Wing, Mn., who was one of the top point-getters for the now-defunct Wilderness last season.
“I just want to go out and do what I can and keep working hard,” Rezansoff added.
The Lakers erased 1-0 and 2-1 deficits against Minnesota, scoring five-straight goals starting with Rezansoff’s power-play marker at 14:44 of the first, which made it 2-2, and ending with his goal at 15:49 of the third that stretched the lead to 6-2.
Carter Chorney, Aaron Wesley-Chisel, Matt Vela, and Josh Gouin added singles for the Lakers.
Veterans Devin Tappenden and Ryan Ferguson split the netminding duties.
Seth Chumley, Max Seiter, and Jacob Shannon replied for the Rangers, who lost in seven games to the Lakers in last season’s SIJHL final.
Then on Saturday, Rezansoff refused to let the Lakers lose—scoring both goals in regulation, including the equalizer at 13:21 of the third on the man-advantage.
His only misstep of the weekend came in the shootout, when he was the lone Laker to be stopped by Miners’ goalie P.D. Melgoza.
But Rezansoff’s teammates had his back as Colton Spicer, Chorney, and Mason Meyer each found the back of the net.
Stirling Wright shut out the Miners in the first half of the game before giving way to Devin Day.
The Fontana, Calif. product looked shaky in allowing goals to Cody Colby and Alex Maticic 3:04 apart midway through the third to put English River up 2-1.
But after getting beat in the first two rounds of the shootout by Eric Champagne and Maticic, Day watched Kirk Coppock fire wide in the third round.
He then had a front-row seat to Matthew Ray’s bad luck, who had the puck slide off his stick before he even got a shot away, to conclude the shootout and give the Lakers the win.
“I was pleased [Friday] night . . . tonight [Saturday], I was not pleased at all,” Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan said candidly.
“I didn’t think we had the work ethic we needed for 60 minutes,” he added.
“It was an ugly night but we came away with the victory.”
The Lakers will finish the pre-season with three-straight road games, starting with a tilt tomorrow night in Hoyt Lakes against the Iron Rangers.
The squad begins the regular season here Sept. 19 against the Thunder Bay North Stars.