North Stars victorious in-home opener over Norskies

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Recently acquired forward Cody Bruchkowski scored shorthanded in the second period, which proved to be the game-winner, as the Thunder Bay North Stars went on to defeat the Thief River Falls Norskies 3-1 Friday in their Superior International Junior Hockey League home opener at the Fort William Gardens.

Thunder Bay pumped 20 shots on Thief River Falls starter Seth Purcilly in the first period, but could not solve him in a scoreless opening frame.

The Norskies opened the scoring 2:46 into the second stanza when Nick Harder skated into the slot and fired a high-rising shot that beat North Stars netminder Jordan Smith.

Answering right back, the home side drew level a half minute later when Michael Vecchio stuffed in the equalizer from close range on a Logan Michalcin feed.

Down a man deep into the frame Bruchkowski, skating in his first game, chipped the puck past a Thief River Falls defender and darted in alone on Purcilly and snapped a quick shot right side to put the hosts on top.

A power play chance midway through the third provided Thunder Bay some insurance as Nikolas Campbell fed Ben Erwin between the circles as he one-timed a blast that put the North Stars up by a pair in what proved to be the evening’s final marker.

Mihalcin chipped in with two assists for the winners.

Shots on goal on the night finished 39-32 in the North Stars favour with Smith picking up the win and Purcilly the defeat.

The same two teams meet again Saturday back at the Gardens in a 7:30 p.m. start.

Photo credits: Rick Baraniuk