Stars sweep Thunder again

All the indicators pointed to the Borderland Thunder running into a brick wall during their two-game road set in Thunder Bay over the weekend—and the Fort William First Nation North Stars didn’t disappoint.
The host Stars skated to a 5-2 win Friday and a 3-1 victory Saturday to run their winning streak to 11 in a row.
The first-place Stars (21-4-1), currently the fourth-ranked team in the Canadian Junior ‘A’ Hockey League, improved to a perfect 8-0 against the Thunder this season and now are a daunting 16-1 on home ice.
For the defending SIJHL champion Thunder (7-13-1-1), the sweep stretched their losing streak to five games, dropped them to 1-11-1-1 in their last 14, and left them with a 2-10 road record for the season.
Cory Bruno—overshadowed by higher scoring teammates Spencer Bodnar and Steve Atkins for much of the season—stepped into the limelight this past weekend by having a hand in seven of the eight Stars goals over the two games.
His hat trick was the difference Friday night, and he also added an assist on Matt Miller’s first-period power-play goal on a night that saw three of the five Fort William tallies come via special teams.
Bodnar, the SIJHL’s leading scorer with 48 points, added a shorthanded marker with one second left in the game.
Aaron Boyer and Kurt Hogard, both on the power play, replied for the Thunder in a game that saw a melee break out at 16:17 of the third, which led to four game misconducts, including the ejection of Stars coach Todd Howarth.
Forward Colton Steinhoff and defenceman Andrew Perrault were the two Thunder players sent to the showers.
Steinhoff (third man in) and Perrault (fighting in the last 10 minutes of a game) were hit with onegame suspensions, which they served Saturday night.
Only 38 seconds after the first incident, a slashing minor to the Stars’ Trevor Abraham sent the Fort William bench into a tizzy— with three other Stars given 10- minute misconducts.
Even Stars’ trainer Dave McCallum was sent packing for the rest of the night with a gross misconduct penalty after waving a towel in the direction of the referee.
Fort William goalie Jean- Frederick Beaudoin made 22 saves to improve to 9-3-1 on the season while lowering his goals against average to 2.97.
His Thunder counterpart, Thomas Dombrowski, was solid in turning aside 35 shots, but still saw his record fall to 0-3 with a 4.22 goals against average since joining Borderland two weeks ago.
Saturday night followed the same pattern, with eight players engaging in a brouhaha at 9:27 of the third.
That situation ended up with five players being tossed, including the Thunder’s Sean Councillor, who received a one-game suspension for being involved in his third fight of the season.
Atkins (who earlier had tallied in the first) and Mike Krelove scored 23 seconds apart in the first minute of the second period to put the Stars in control.
Bruno had three assists to strengthen their cause.
Cale David, who traded fists with Abraham in a third-period dust-up, scored his first goal with the Thunder since being signed two weeks ago from the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Dan Hoehne made his return between the pipes for Borderland after being out since Nov. 4 with post-concussion syndrome, and looked like he hadn’t skipped a beat as he came up with 39 saves.
Daniel Beardy was tested infrequently in the Fort William net, posting only 18 saves as he boosted his record to a red-hot 12-1 with a 2.30 goals against average.
The Thunder next see action here this Friday and Saturday night when the last-place K&A Variety Golden Hawks (2-22-2) visit the Ice for Kids Arena.