Late Fighting Walleye Rally Falls Short Against North Stars

OLIVER PAIPOONGE – The correct answer to the trivia question is Trystan Goodman. The question is “who scored the first goal in Kam River Fighting Walleye history?”

It took a little longer than the Fighting Walleye had hoped, but they finally broke through at 8:11 of the third period on Friday night, beating Thunder Bay North Stars goaltender Emerson Mercer to forever be etched in the laurels of Fighting Walleye folklore.

It was all the Fighting Walleye needed to wake up their offense that had struggled to finish up until that point.
They were able to follow it up with an additional three tallies in the final ten minutes of the game to erase a once-comfortable 5-0 North Stars lead before running out of time and dropping a 5-4 decision.

The Stars took what seemed to be a solid grasp on the contest by scoring four times in a 6:13 span in the first. Despite the Walleye holding an early territorial advantage in play, it was Jacob Anttonen who kicked off the scoring with a shorthanded goal. Nikolas Campbell scored twice, and Leeam Tivers chipped in his first of the season in front of a solid period from veteran North Stars goaltender Jordan Smith.

Smith was relieved from the crease at the half-way point in a planned move by the North Stars in favor of Emerson Mercer. Mercer was able to pick up where Smith left off – until Goodman’s goal.

Then, after being hamstrung most of the game through a little rust, nerves, or both, they finally started going in for the Walleye.

Down 5-1, Keaton Mercredi got his side within three at 6:41of the third. Two minutes later it was Kaden Katelnikoff to pull within two which was followed up less than two-minutes later and it was a one-goal game.

It took a great save from Mercer, off the stick of Kyle Swerhun in the dying seconds of the game and the Walleye net empty to preserve the win for the North Stars.

The two teams are vying for a newly-minted Teleco Cup during an eight-game exhibition series. The next game goes Saturday November 7, also at Nor West Rec Center.

Only 50 fans were allowed inside the arena under COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the province.

Submitted by: Superior International Junior Hockey League
Photo Credit: Gary Moskalyk