Lumberjacks nip Lakers


Cameron Birkeland scored just 55 seconds into overtime to lift the expansion Wisconsin Lumberjacks to a 4-3 win over the Fort Frances Lakers in SIJHL action on Tuesday night at the Ice For Kids Arena.
It was the fourth straight loss the Lakers, who saw their record fall to 11-14-2.
The Lumberjacks (5-17-2) opened the scoring just past the seven-and-a-half-minute mark of the first period as Cade Moreland fired home his seventh of the season.
Wisconsin then went up by a pair at 14:12 when Ryley Cardinal collected his third of the campaign.
But fighting back, the Lakers finally got on the board before the frame was complete as captain Noah Loveday notched his team-leading 15th at 16:12.
The Lumberjacks restored their two-goal cushion early in the second as Jack Jones lifted a high-rising attempt from the right point that sailed into the top left corner over Lakers’ goalie Dean Bucholz.
Fort Frances made it a 3-2 game at 18:22 when Ben Hoefler finished off the rebound of a nice Cooper Witherspoon rush.
Kyle Uzelman then snapped a shot into the top right shelf 5:36 into the third as he knotted the affair at 3-3 to force overtime.
Early in the extra frame, Birkeland came off the bench on a line change, where he took a Joel Matthews cross-ice feed and fired a low attempt that found its way through Dean Buchholz and slid in for the game-winner.
Matthews finished with two assists on the night while Lumberjacks goalie Hunter Adams made 34 saves to record his first-ever SIJHL win.
Buchholz turned aside 35 shots to take the loss.
The fifth-place Lakers will resume action tonight when they take on the fourth-place Thief River Falls Norskies (13-8-2) in the opener of a home-and-home series at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Lakers then will host the finale tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena in their last game before the holiday break.
Fort Frances will kick-off second-half SIJHL action on Thursday, Jan. 2 in Thief River Falls when they battle the Norskies once again.