By Gary Moskalyk
Kenora 3 at Thunder Bay 1 Friday
Matt Stephens stopped 44 of 45 shots as Kenora surprised the Thunder Bay North Stars with a 3-1 win at Fort William Gardens. The Kenora win halted Thunder Bay’s seven-game winning streak. Islander head coach Nathan Bruyere got his first SIJHL win behind the bench. The Islanders also won their first ever game in regulation. And their 27-game winless streak ended.
Bruyere said there were “many positives” in the Islanders tough 3-2 loss to Fort Frances last week. Stephens goaltending and a relatively penalty-free match translated well for the Islanders in their stunning victory against the Stars.
Defenceman Braden Swampy’s point shot on an Islanders’ powerplay off a face-off win opened the scoring at 15:36 of the first. Swampy notched his 9th with John Paul Scaringi collecting his 14th helper.
Aaron Bertschinger bumped the lead to 2-0, converting Scaringi’s great pass at 16:41 for his 13th. EJ Paddington scored his 20th with six seconds left in the frame for Thunder Bay, with Carter Anton and Drew Caddo drawing assists.
The third period remained scoreless until the final minute. Lazarus Constant fired the puck into an empty Thunder Bay net with 46 seconds left to account for the final score. The Stars kept the cage open, pressing to close the gap, but it was Kenora’s night to shine.
Thunder Bay outshot the Islanders 45-16. Keenan Marks stopped 13 of 15 to absorb his 7th loss of the year.
Thunder Bay took 24 penalty minutes to Kenora’s eight.
Kenora 2 at Thunder Bay 8 Saturday
Thunder Bay fired 62 shots in the second game of the three game series to defeat the Islanders 8-2 at the Gardens. A total of nine North Stars collected two or more points, led by Dimitri Trahiotis with two goals and an assist. Alex Remenda also had two goals, and SIJHL-leading scorer Edison Weeks had three assists to aid in the onslaught.
Ben Laurette picked up his third win in three starts, facing 23 shots. The Stars will have a chance Sunday to jump into second place with a single point or a win.
Trahiotis opened the scoring at 2:33 of the first on a Stars powerplay. Remenda, Beau Helmeczi and Eric Sheriff pushed the lead to 4-0 before Ezekiel Kirkness beat Laurette for his second of the year at 16:28.
In the second period, Tyler Jordan, with his 20th, and Cohen Tangedal upped the score to 6-1. John Paul Scaringi closed the gap to 6-2 at 7:24.
Jordan’s goal signaled the end of Connor Dunham-Fox’ night in the Islander net. Dunham-Fox faced 21 shots and took the loss, allowing five. Matt Stephens came on in relief and shunted aside 38 of 41.
Trahiotis and Remenda polished off the scoring in the third. Remenda’s 4th of the year was Thunder Bay’s second powerplay goal. Thunder Bay was 2-8 with the man advantage while negating three Islander opportunities.
Sheriff, Tangedal and Jordan all added assists, and Keegan Jones, Tristen Bear and Cameron Dial all had two assists for the Stars.
The Islanders took nine minor penalties to Thunder Bay’s four. A total of 534 fans attended.
Kenora 1 at Thunder Bay 9 Sunday
Tyler Jordan scored three, Dimitri Trahiotis stayed hot, and the Thunder Bay North Stars climbed into second place with a 9-1 drubbing of the Kenora Islanders before 362 fans Sunday afternoon at the Gardens.
Keenan Marks made 20 saves, many of them stellar, for his 16th win. Thunder Bay unleashed a 66-shot attack against Kenora’s Kaden King, who made many fine stops himself. The Stars do not play now until February 9th against Kam River. Kenora is right back at it on Tuesday with a Woodland Arena home game against Fort Frances.
Thunder Bay had three goals each period. Beau Helmeczi’s 11th unassisted, and Jordan with two, staked the Stars to a 3-0 lead. Connor Larrett’s 5th on a Thunder Bay powerplay made it 4-0 at 2:01 of the second. Kenora’s top scorer Aaron Bertschinger got Kenora’s only goal on an Islander powerplay at 7:54. Jordan got his hat trick goal at 12:24 and Trahiotis got his first of two with 38 seconds left in the second frame on a TB powerplay.
EJ Paddington with his 21st, Trahiotis with his 9th (and 4th in two games) and Edison Weeks with number 21 made it 9-1.
The game barely managed to stay contained. The second period had 13 infractions. A total of 50 penalty minutes were assessed with Kenora serving 34 of them.
Jordan climbed to 8th in league scoring and is now third in goals with 23 in his 32 games played. Trahiotis checks in as Thunder Bay’s 5th top point getter with 26 in 36 games.
The Stars play a wait and see over the next 12 days as the rest of the league catches up to their 37 games played. Only Dryden, with 38 games, has played more than Thunder Bay.
Garren Voisey had three assists for Thunder Bay in the game. Larrett and Weeks had goals and assists and Alex Remenda added two helpers to his stat line.
Weeks has a six-point lead in the SIJHL point parade with 57. Weeks, Paddington and Easton Mikus are 1-2-3 in the scoring race. Mikus, somewhat amazingly, did not figure in any of the 18 goals Thunder Bay scored over the weekend.
The Stars were 2-7 on the powerplay while Kenora was 1-3.
Fort Frances 5 at Wisconsin 4 Friday
Fort Frances overcame an early 2-0 deficit, scoring three goals in the third period to defeat Wisconsin 5-4 before 289 fans in Spooner, WI. Jack Wood and Brady Krentz had two goals each for the Lakers, Clark Scaddan had a goal and two helpers, and Lukas Toth stopped 34 of 38 to provide the winning formula.
The Lumberjacks used a defensive turnover to open the scoring just 74 seconds in. Simon Davidson stole the puck behind the Laker net and fed a wide open Marshall Thomas for 1-0 lead. Scott Majeske notched his 3rd from the high slot 29 seconds later for a 2-0 Lumberjacks’ edge. Krentz rounded got one back for Fort Frances at 11:52, going low glove-side on Rylan Freshwater.
Fort Frances tied the game and Wisconsin re-took the lead in a two-goal middle frame. Scaddan squeezed past the Wisconsin defence and buried his 12th at 8:51. Dillon Phillips finished off a tic-tac-toe with Koen Burkholder and Zach Johnson at 12:43 to give the ‘Jacks a one-goal lead heading into the final period.
Jack Wood laid a nasty dangle on the Wisconsin defence and tied the game at 7:12 of the final period. Krentz notched his 12th from the far circle midway through on a powerplay, and Wood cashed in a rebound on a 2-on-1 to give the Lakers a 5-3 lead at 11:35. Kaden Postal pulled Wisconsin close 33 seconds later, notching his 9th by settling a rebound for his 9th.
Wisconsin head coach Doug Lein pulled Freshwater with just over a minute to go, but the Lakers held on for their second consecutive win. Toth picked up his second win of the year. Freshwater saw his record drop to 6-5-0 with his 24 stops.
Only seven minor penalties were called. The Lakers were 1-3 on the powerplay, while shutting out Wisconsin on four opportunities.
Wisconsin 7 at Fort Frances 6 (OT) Saturday
Wisconsin switched goalies nearly two periods in, overcame a two-goal deficit late in the game, and William McDonnel scored in overtime as the Lumberjacks pulled out an exciting 7-6 road win against the Lakers.
The Lakers held leads of 5-3 and 6-4 but couldn’t hold them.
Fresh off a Wisconsin penalty kill Collin Baker joined the Lumberjacks’ offense and fed a wide open Dillon Phillips at 16:19 of the third to tighten the score to 6-5. With just 19 seconds left in the game and Wisconsin’s Riley Burnett out for an extra attacker Ryan Kayser tied the score with his shot from the near boards past a screened Jack Orchard.
In 3-on-3 overtime, Dillon Phillips made a move on the Lakers defence and fed McDonnel who notched his third with 53 seconds left in overtime.
Despite 13 goals and 52 penalty minutes, all the goals were scored at even strength.
It was a see-saw battle throughout. Brody Lindal got things started for Fort Frances at 6:03 of the first. Wisconsin’s Baker and Nolan Fowler put the ‘Jacks up 2-1 through one period.
The Lakers exploded for four second period goals. A revitalized Magnus Pearson, acquired from the North Stars, got his 5th of the year at 7:05 to tie the game. Foster Couvier collected his first Laker assist on the play. Lindal got his 12th of the year at 11:20 to put Fort Frances ahead 3-2. Simon Davidson’s 7th at 16:01 knotted the game at 3-3. Clark Scaddan scored two in a row 29 seconds apart to give the Lakers a 5-3 lead heading into the third.
Fowler got his second of the game at 3:55 on a Wisconsin powerplay to make it 5-4. Remington Richardson restored Fort’s two-goal advantage with his second of the year midway through the third.
But Wisconsin got the next three–Phillips and Kayser in regulation time–and McDonnel in extra time to pull out the win.
Scaddan and Lindal had two goals apiece, and Pearson added two assists for three points to lead the Lakers offensively. Fowler had two goals for Wisconsin, and Kayser and Phillips added two assists each for three points. Baker also had an assist in addition to his goal.
William Forester was pulled from the Wisconsin net at 17:14 mark of the second period. He made 29 saves in 33 shots. Burnett came in on in relief, making 15 saves while picking up his second win of the year. Orchard saw his record drop to 4-14-2 with 28 saves in 35 shots.
Wisconsin took 32 of the 52 penalty minutes assessed. The Lumberjacks were 1-3 with the man advantage. Fort Frances was 0-4.
Kam River 5 at Sioux Lookout 4 (OT) Friday
Jett Mintenko scored at 1:43 of overtime on a Kam River powerplay to pull the second-place Walleye one point closer to the first-place Bombers with a 5-4 win at the Hangar. Three points separate the top two teams in the league. Kam River has a game in hand.
Nickolas Fagnilli had two goals and an assist for Kam River and Ashton Sadauskas secured his league-leading 19th win against three losses. Jack Osmond fell to 13-5-2. Kam River outshot the Bombers 40-35.
The teams were tied one-all through 20 minutes, Kam River scored the lone second period goal, and a chaotic third period saw five goals. A total of five of the nine goals scored in the game were on the powerplay.
Fagnilli intercepted a clear pass a fired a wrister past Osmond at 8:31 for an unassisted game-opening marker at 8:31. Nolan Palmer scored on a rebound at 16:43–his 6th of the year with Dayvan Bull and Owen Riffel collecting assists on the powerplay effort.
Liam Bell was the lone second period marksman, banking one in from behind the net for his 7th and a 2-1 Kam River lead.
In the third, Kaden Goodwin used his speed to good advantage, cashing in five-hole on Osmond at 5:47 for a two-goal Walleye lead.
Ty Lone narrowed the lead for Sioux Lookout at 10:30, and Owen Cotter knotted the score at 3-3 with 8th at 17:05.
Both teams had goals left in the tank.
Fagnilli put the Walleye ahead at 17:49, snapping home his 15th on the powerplay. Connor Burke got his 20th for Sioux Lookout 1:08 later on a Bombers powerplay to tie the game at 4-4.
Sioux Lookout’s Owen Cotter took a penalty at the expiration of regulation time, setting the stage for a Kam River overtime powerplay.
Edwin Liang rang one off the post in overtime for the Walleye, but Mintenko’s top shelf snipe ended the contest with Kam River enjoying a 4-on-3 man advantage.
The Fighting Walleye outshot the Bombers 5-0 in overtime.
The Walleye were 3-8 on the powerplay while Sioux Lookout was 2-7. Kam River had 19 penalty minutes to Sioux Lookout’s 16.
Mintenko also had an assist for the Walleye. Cobe Delaney and Bull had two assists each for Sioux Lookout.
Kam River took 19 of 35 penalty minutes.
Kam River 1 at Sioux Lookout 4 Saturday
Matthew Spencer-Dahl stopped 39 of 40 and Owen Riffel notched a pair as the Bombers defeated Kam River 4-1 before 375 patrons at the Hangar. The win gives the Bombers a five-point lead over Wisconsin in the battle for first.
Riffel’s high slot wrister at 2:23 of the first gave the Bombers a 1-0 edge. Cotter’s 9th on a 2-on-1 at 14:37 doubled the lead through 20 minutes.
Riffel’s second of the game and 26th of the season–a wrister blocker side of Kam River starter Travis VanderZwaag–gave the Bombers a 3-0 lead. Blake Burke’s deflection of a Dayvan Bull point shot on a Bomber powerplay at 13:34 of the second gave Sioux Lookout a commanding 4-0 lead.
Daxton Lang, injured much of the year, broke Spencer-Dahl’s shutout bid at 16:45 on Kam River powerplay.
The third period was scoreless.
It was a penalty filled affair. Both teams recorded 13 infractions each, good for 78 penalty minutes. Through it all, Kam River was 1-6 with the man advantage while Sioux Lookout was 1-7.
VanderZwaag fell to 5-6-1 on the year for the Walleye, who are an uncharacteristic 4-5-1 in their last 10. Sioux Lookout is 7-1-2 in their last 10.
Dryden 3 at Red Lake 2 Saturday
Christian Lynch made 39 saves for his second win, and Carson Devine had two goals including the game winner, as Dryden won their 6th in a row with a 3-2 decision over Red Lake at Cochenour Arena. James Hooton was at it again, collecting two assists. He has five points in three games since joining the team January 19th.
McLaren Paulsen backhanded in a rebound at 8:44 of the first on a Dryden powerplay to open the scoring. For Paulsen, it’s goal number 21. Paulsen collected his first assist of the season on the play.
Gabe Tanton tied it for Red Lake, scoring his 7th of the year shorthanded t 12:55 of the initial frame.
Both teams scored in the second. Aiden Corbett put the home side ahead at 1:05, getting his 23rd on a one-timer with Kyle Grysiuk and Luke DeCorby assisting,
Devine struck at 10:24 to knot the score at 2-all, his wrist shot beating Red Lake starter Ethan Neitsch glove side. Roby and Hooton assisted on the powerplay marker.
Devine got his 13th of the year unassisted at 14:42 of the third. Neitsch made the original save on his high shot but Devine was there to collect his own rebound for the game winner.
Dryden took a pair of late penalties 57 seconds apart late in the third but Lynch was there to stop any thoughts of a Red Lake comeback. Neitsch was briefly pulled for an extra man but nothing came of it.
Red Lake’s Luke DeCorby joined Dryden’s Devine and Hooton as a two-point man with his two assists.
Red Lake had 26 of the 40 penalty minutes assessed. Dryden struck twice on the powerplay in six chances with shutting down Red Lake’s five opportunities.
The Ice Dogs have 11 regular season games left–fewest in the SIJHL–to move up in the standings. They’re ahead of Red Lake by two points but the Miners have four games in hand. Red Lake is 7-3-0 in their last 10, with 15 games left in their regular season. Just five points separate second place from fifth place–and first place Sioux Lookout is only three points ahead of second place Thunder Bay.
The SIJHL regular season is over 70 per cent completed, with 58 games remaining.