By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – EJ Paddington scored the game winner at 19 seconds of the third period as the Thunder Bay North Stars defeated Red Lake 4-3 for a 2-0 series lead.
Red Lake couldn’t hold a pair of first period leads as the Stars skated off with a 3-2 edge after 20 minutes.
Quintyn Sidaway opened the scoring at 3:53 of the first, deflecting a Mason Mowat shot past Conner Lemieux for his second goal of the playoffs on a Red Lake powerplay. Nikolas Campbell’s powerplay effort tied it up at 6:16, on a wrist shot glove side.
Sidaway’s long wrister from the point, unassisted, gave him three for the series and the Miners a 2-1 edge. Mason Wesley when post and in for his second in two games, and Colby Feist’s glove side snipe at 18:11 put the hometown boys up 3-2.
Feist’s effort chased Jack Osmond from the Miners’ net, sending in Trent Boryszczuk.
Kaelen Veldman tied it up at three-all at 2:11 of the second. Veldman controlled a loose puck on the Stars’ doorstep and backhanded it in.
Both goalies battened down the hatches after that.
Paddington’s goal early in the third sealed the verdict for Thunder Bay. Boryszczuk was pulled for an extra attacker with just under two minutes left but the Miners couldn’t find the equalizer.
Thunder Bay lost defenceman Matt Halushak for a head contact hit on Jacob Lamoureux at 14:58 of the second. Lamoureux came back into the game.
Thunder Bay took 37 of 61 penalty minutes. Both teams were 1-5 with the man advantage.
Feist added two helpers for a three-point night. Campbell had an assist and Dylan Winsor had two helpers for Thunder Bay. Veldman added an assist for a two-point night for Red Lake.
Lemieux stopped 30 of 33 for his second playoff win. Osmond made 11 saves and Boryszczuk thwarted 17 of 18 for Red Lake. Boryszczuk was tagged for the loss.
The game attracted 625 fans.
Games three and four are Monday and Tuesday in Red Lake.