By Gary Moskalyk – Special to the Superior International Junior Hockey League
OLIVER PAIPOONGE – Late period goals were the flavor of the day as the Thunder Bay North Stars defeated the Kam River Fighting Walleye 4-2 at NorWest Arena.
Hunter Foreshew stripped the puck at Walleye blue line and deposited an empty net marker with 10 seconds left to seal the win for Thunder Bay.
The Stars swept the weekend set to take a 2-0 lead in the Teleco Cup standings, an eight-game exhibition series between Thunder Bay’s two SIJHL clubs. A total of 112 minutes in penalties were assessed in the spirited contest as an instant rivalry was firmly established.
“It’s a little Jekyll and Hyde. We played really good at times and at times we didn’t play good,” assessed North Stars head coach Rob DeGagne. “First couple games of the season, couple of exhibition games, you can’t really expect any more. We had two nice wins. They have a good gritty team, it was good competition. They were
good wins for us, for sure.”
Trenton Morriseau finished off a tic-tac-toe with Ethan Lang and Keaton Mercredi at 19:15 of the first period going blocker side on Jacob Stone to give the Walleye a 1-0 lead.
Thunder Bay matched that power play effort with 3.8 ticks on the clock with one of their own. Nikolas Campbell, on assists from Rajvir Sangha and Kyler Belluz, beat Eric Vanska. Vanska stayed in the entire game for Kam River, facing 26 shots
in a losing effort.
Jacob Stone started for Thunder Bay and was relieved mid-game by Seth McKay, as Thunder Bay used four goalies over the weekend. Kam River had 27 shots in the game.
Hayden Cattani tipped a Brad Fortier shot to hand the Walleye their second lead of the game. Sangha, acquired from the Red Lake Miners, tied the contest at 7:32. Sangha collected two points in the game and was selected first star.
“Had a four-point weekend,” said Sangha. “The boys were going. A lot of credit to Robbie (DeGagne) for recruiting me. We’re in it to win a championship this year. He’s definitely a big part of that. He knows what he’s doing. He’s definitely a pro.”
Liam Tivers’ tip with seven minutes left in the second frame was the game-winner.
The second period was the most robust in the game. In addition to nine minor penalties, misconducts and game misconducts were handed out.
“They obviously execute a little better than us right now,” said Matt Valley, head coach of the Fighting Walleye, of the North Stars. “They play together most of these guys. Two-time defending champs–they’re the top dogs in town, we know that. We’re using that underdog story as a little bit of a chip on our shoulder. We
want to be the big dogs. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
“But I’m very happy with a lot of guys efforts and a lot of guys compete level, especially going down 5-0 in the first game,” Valley continued. “Could have folded the tent right there. They didn’t. I think we know the character in our room now. There’s definitely a lot of details and a lot of ‘younger mistakes’ I call them
that we need to iron out and just execute more.”
Games three and four of the Teleco Cup go next Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., at NorWest.
Photo credit: Gary Moskalyk