Lakers’ winning streak snapped

Lucas Punkari

The Fort Frances Lakers saw their four-game winning streak come to an end last night in Sioux Lookout, falling 5-4 in a shootout to the host Flyers.
Trailing 3-0 early in the second period, the Lakers peppered the Flyers’ net with 43 shots during the final two frames and overtime.
But despite solving Jayme Brattengeier four times, they were unable to grab the lead.
It took until the sixth round of the shootout to determine the winner, when Jacob Nolan beat Tyler Ampe to give the Flyers a narrow victory—and their second win of the season over the Lakers.
“We threw a whole bunch of shots at their goalie in the final two periods, and to me he was the main difference as he made many game-stopping saves to keep the game tied going into overtime,” noted Lakers’ head coach/GM Wayne Strachan.
“In the shootout, we had the upper-hand for one shooter [Ben Michaud] but they came back-to-back and scored to win it.
“I think that our shooters were trying to be a little fancy at times with the ice conditions that we were facing,” Strachan added.
“Obviously, when you play the way that we have lately, in starting slow but coming on late, the comeback trail is going to end sometime,” he reasoned.
“Hopefully, we can live and learn and start to play with the lead early, and not trying to come back from two goals down late.”
Michaud, Henry Gutierrez, Ryan Wildman, and Dane Morin scored for the Lakers while Byron Katapaytuk added two assists.
Despite the loss, which dropped their overall record to 7-2-1, the Lakers remain in first place in the standings with 15 points—one ahead of the defending champion Wisconsin Wilderness.
On Tuesday night, the Lakers downed the expansion Iron Range Ironheads 7-4 at the Ice For Kids Arena in what was the very first meeting between the two squads.
Rookie forward Jordan Larson had two goals and an assist in the victory, which saw him increase his SIJHL-leading point total to 21 on the season.
Linemate Davis Smith chipped in with three assists.
Also hooking up for three-point nights for the Lakers were linemates Gutierrez and Jaret Leclair, who both had a goal and two assists as well as numerous other scoring chances.
“This is our third year playing together and me and Hank [Gutierrez] have always had a chemistry out there, plus I love playing with the guy,” Leclair said.
“We just both move our feet fast and we try to use that to our advantage, and I think that really helps us out,” echoed Gutierrez.
The Lakers will be looking to start a brand-new winning streak tomorrow at the Ice For Kids Arena when they welcome the Duluth Clydesdales to town for a 7:30 p.m. tilt.
In other news, the team also made a roster change following Tuesday’s win as 19-year-old forward Wayne Folster was released after notching two goals and a pair of assists in seven games.
“I’m not sure where he’ll end up, but we have talked to his old team in Norway House [Manitoba] and they have expressed an interest in having him come back,” Strachan noted.
“But we’ll try and help him find a place to play and we wish him all the best.
“We’re hoping to bring a younger forward that can add some scoring to our lineup,” Strachan added.
“But at this point in time, we’re still in discussions with a couple of players to see who we can have come in and fill that role.”