Road losses bump Lakers from perch


A pair of one-goal weekend losses bumped the Fort Frances Lakers from their perch atop the SIJHL.
And it was a long way down.
After a 3-2 loss Friday night and then a 1-0 setback Saturday in Thunder Bay, the Lakers fell to fourth place in the six-team circuit behind Wisconsin, the North Stars, and Dryden.
The league-leading Wilderness have 42 points—three up on the Lakers (19-10-1).
Things started well for the Lakers in Friday night’s game as defenceman Morgan McNeill tallied a power-play marker just 3:23 in.
The goal was McNeill’s second of the season.
The lead held up until the third period, when Spencer Hogan beat Lakers’ goalie Tyler Ampe 5:16 into the frame.
The Lakers struck back quickly as Blake Boaz came up with his fifth of the season just 46 seconds later to regain the lead.
But Dan Usiski evened the game once again with a power-play goal at the 11:12 mark, then Colten Brûlé netted the winner with just 52 seconds left in regulation time.
Ampe made 34 saves while Jay Pelletier stopped 21 shots for the North Stars.
Saturday night’s game proved to be a duel between Ampe and Guillaume Piché as only one shot found the twine in the game.
That marker came off the stick of Thunder Bay’s Mitch Marostica at 15:38 of the second period.
Ampe fended off the other 28 scoring attempts launched his way while Piché blocked all 17 shots he faced on a fairly light night.
The Lakers will look to recover, and get back to within striking distance of first place, when they host the Duluth Clydesdales (6-19-2) tonight at 7:30 at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The Lakers have won their five meetings with Duluth so far this season—most recently earning a 6-4 win in Duluth on Nov. 28.