The Fort Frances Jr. Sabres made it interesting, but still got the outcome they wanted on the scoreboard in a 6-3 win here Tuesday night against the expansion Sioux Lookout Flyers.
Despite trailing 2-1 after 20 minutes to the winless Flyers, the Sabres tallied twice in the second and then three more times in the third en route to their fifth-straight win after an 0-4 start to their second season in the SIJHL.
“We were flat and played to their level,” Sabres’ coach Wayne Strachan admitted. “Yes, they [the Flyers] have made a lot of changes and are working a lot harder, but it’s not acceptable to play that type of first period and the players knew it.”
The Sabres had bombed the Flyers 11-0 in Sioux Lookout for their first win of the season.
Strachan said the line of Chad Reynolds, Logan McDonell, and Adam Wensley injected some much-needed energy with their physical play, and the team fed off it and swayed the momentum as the game wore on.
Brendan Baumgartner got things started for the Sabres with a power-play goal midway through the first, but the Flyers responded with two of their own before intermission.
Dan Usiski and Mitch Cain took turns setting one another up for goals in the second to put the Sabres up 3-2 after two, then Baumgartner netted his second of the game early in the third to give the home side a cushion.
The Flyers got one back, but then Carson Dubchak put the game away with a pair of goals to close out the scoring.
Sabres’ captain Chris Sinclair added three assists to his league-leading point total of 17 while linemate Baumgartner is second with 16.
The Sabres, who out-shot the Flyers 38-16, currently sit fourth in the SIJHL standings with a 5-4 record.
They play these same Flyers back here again tomorrow (Oct. 17) starting at 7:30 p.m., and Strachan hopes his team will play a full 60 minutes of hockey in that one.
“It has to be a different story from our end,” Strachan stressed. “We need to come out and establish the tempo of the game and not get into bad habits.
“We just came through a stretch of games that we played some good hockey, [and] we can’t fall into their style of play, especially when we have the [Fort William] North Stars and [Thunder Bay] Bearcats [on the road] next week.”
After tomorrow night, the Sabres will play a stretch of three games in three nights starting with the North Stars on Wednesday.