Rough weekend for Fort Frances Lakers


The Fort Frances Lakers will be looking to erase a miserable weekend from their memories as quick as possible.

The Lakers followed up a 3-0 shutout loss on home ice to the Thief River Falls Norskies on Friday night with their worst outing of the season in a 10-1 shellacking at the hands of the expansion Wisconsin Lumberjacks the following night at the Spooner Civic Center.

Caleb Sauer stopped all 29 shots he faced to record his second consecutive SIJHL shutout for the Norskies as he went on to blank the Lakers (18-26-3-2) on Friday night at the Ice For Kids Arena.

After a scoreless first period, Thief River Falls (29-20-3) opened the scoring during a second-period power play that resulted in Connor Kalthoff finishing off a 2-on-1 with teammate Justin Schwartzmiller at 5:29.

The Norskies potted another marker near the midway point of the game as Nate Brown’s long pass up from his own zone helped Tyler Johnson split the Fort Frances defence and go in on goal where he slid his 16th of the season past Lakers’ goalie Alex Bugeja.

Special teams then helped the visitors salt away the road victory in the third as Johnson and Jack Michels worked it around before getting it to Joe Collins up high as he snapped in a man-advantage goal with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining to round out the scoring.

Bugeja made 35 saves in defeat for Fort Frances.

On Saturday night in Spooner, the Lumberjacks got multiple-point performances from nine different skaters to blowout the Lakers.

After going scoreless through the first half of the opening period, the Lumberjacks (20-26-4-1) came to life, getting goals from Ryan Wolf, Cameron Birkeland and Alex Bren, with his first in the SIJHL, as the hosts took a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Lumberjacks kept the rough night coming for the Lakers and blew it open in the middle stanza as they outscored Fort Frances 5-1 to go up by seven after 40 minutes.

Braden LaPorte, Matt Turnbull, Joel Matthews and Tyler Shetland added to the onslaught before Lakers’ defenceman Jaden Wake finally put the visitors on the board at 16:18.

But Dalton Garcia answered that just 20 seconds later with his 19th of the campaign to make it 8-1 Lumberjacks after 40 minutes.

Wisconsin then finished off the romp in the third with Turnbull and Parker Brakebill finding the back of the net to complete the one-sided decision.

Hunter Adams made 33 saves to earn the win for the Lumberjacks, who moved four points ahead of the last-place Lakers in the standings.

Dean Bucholz started the game for the Lakers, allowing five goals against on 22 shots to take the loss.

Bugeja made 15 stops on 20 attempts in lengthy relief.

The Lakers will resume action tonight in Red Lake against the second-place Miners (30-17-3-2) at the Cochenour Arena.

Fort Frances then will host the fourth-place Dryden GM Ice Dogs (23-24-4) tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.