Stars win in five

Mitch Calvert

Rainy River District was well represented in the SIJHL final despite the fact the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres were ousted in the semi-finals.
Devlin’s Jordan Davis tallied four assists over the final two games, and was named second star in Sunday’s Game 5 win, to help the Fort William North Stars dump the Thunder Bay Bearcats for the league crown.
The North Stars now will turn their attention to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, which begins April 21 in Schreiber.
The Bearcats, meanwhile, boasted Rainy River native Jeremy Beller, along with Fort Frances natives Brian White and Tyler Miller, on their roster—with the four area players (including Davis) combining for six goals and nine assists in the series.
Penalties were a big factor in the Bearcats’ quick exit as too often the North Stars were given opportunities with the man up.
“Discipline had a lot to do with it,” Davis remarked. “[We focused on] staying out of the box and letting them take the penalties.”
But when the Stars did go short-handed, their penalty killing unit was there to bail them out in only allowing two power-play markers to the high-powered Bearcats’ offence.
Goalie Patrick Sullivan also stepped to the forefront and played very well in all five games after struggling in the semi-final series versus the Schreiber Diesels.
“That was probably the biggest reason we won, actually,” Davis said, referring to Sullivan’s heroics. “Every game we had a slow start and he kinda kept us in it until we picked it up.”
Along with the North Stars and host Diesels, the NOJHL representative Soo Thunderbirds also punched their ticket to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup on Monday with a 4-3 win over the North Bay Skyhawks. The OJHL final (between the Oakville Blades and Kingston Voyageurs) has yet to have a champion crowned.
The Diesels, meanwhile, will be looking to succeed in the underdog role, and need look no further than the trouble they gave the North Stars in a tight seven-game series as inspiration.
“They were playing great, working hard, and we weren’t working hard enough,” Davis said of their close series with Schreiber.
“I don’t know anything about the other teams, but I know Mike Farrell [playing for Kingston] in the OJHL final right now,” Davis added. “I was on his team in Owen Sound [OHL] last year.”
Davis said the North Stars set four goals at the beginning of the season, and are halfway to reaching them.
“One was to win the regular-season [title], win the league championship, win the Dudley, and then go to RBC [Royal Bank Cup],” Davis noted.
“We’ve got two for sure, but more to come hopefully.”