Although it wasn’t showing on the scoreboard, Fort Frances Lakers’ head coach/general manager Wayne Strachan felt his squad was getting the better of the chances and dictating play Friday night against the visiting Red Lake Miners.
The problem was the Lakers couldn’t bury their scoring opportunities while the Miners did in taking a 2-1 lead into the third period.
A disastrous defensive start to that final frame ultimately led to the Lakers’ demise as they gave up three-straight goals within the first 10 minutes en route to a 5-1 loss at the Ice For Kids Arena.
“After the second period, I felt good about our game for the most part,” Strachan said after the game.
“I thought we controlled the play, controlled the offensive zone,” he noted.
“And obviously the score didn’t dictate that, [being] behind 2-1, but we had numerous opportunities and power plays that we didn’t capitalize on that kind of hurt us through the first 40 [minutes].”
A comedy of errors, including missed defensive assignments and a player “blowing a tire” and falling to the ice, led to the Miners’ game-sealing outburst in the third period.
The fourth-place Lakers (9-9-0-0) will have little time to lick their wounds, however, as they were slated to hit the road tonight to face the top-ranked Thunder Bay North Stars (16-1-1-0) at the Fort William Gardens.
Then they return home Friday to host those same North Stars before welcoming the second-place Miners (12-4-0-0) again the following night at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Both games start at 7:30 p.m.
Strachan knows a committed effort, and attention to detail, in their defensive zone is paramount to any success his squad could have against the SIJHL’s top teams.
“We’re definitely gonna find out what we’re made of,” Strachan conceded of the upcoming