THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Thunder Bay North Stars rallied from an early two-goal deficit by notching five unanswered markers to pull out a 5-2 triumph over the Thief River Falls Norskies Saturday evening in Game 3 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League semifinal series at the Fort William Gardens.
The outcome gives the North Stars a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven affair heading into Game 4 Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET back at the Gardens.
Prior to the start of the game, both clubs lined up at centre ice, along with the game officials, to honour the victims of Friday’s horrific bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Following the sombre ceremony, it was the visiting Norskies who got off to a quick start grabbing a 2-0 lead before the contest was eight minutes old.
Brett Piper got Thief River Falls going as he buried a rebound off the blocker that Thunder Bay goaltender Brandon Bodnar could not contain at 6:04.
The Norskies then went up by a pair a minute and a half later with Jared Pedersen finishing off a two-on-one with Cody Aarvig.
Thunder Bay started their rally in the latter stages of the frame when Bradley Thrower flew down the left wing and ripped a shot between the post and Norskies’ netminder Bailey Schmitz.|
They then added another at 18:40 when Ryan Mignault spun around in front and fired one past Schmitz to knot the affair at 2-2.
Moving on to the middle session, Thrower added his second of the night by lifting one high that eluded Schmitz at 4:15.
Moving on to the third, the North Stars added some insurance with eight and a half minutes to go, during a man advantage, as Mignault wheeled around the Thief River Falls net and tucked the puck into the open side.
Thief River Falls then pulled their goalkeeper in the late going to try and draw closer, but it was Thunder Bay’s Troy Sherman who iced it with an empty netter at 18:29 to round out the scoring.
Bodnar finished with 27 stops to record the win while Schmitz was peppered with 49 shots in defeat for the Norskies.
All SIJHL postseason games are streamed live and on demand at HockeyTV.com.
No. 2 Thief River Falls Norskies vs. No. 3 Thunder Bay North Stars
Thunder Bay leads best-of-seven series 2-1
Game 1: Thief River Falls 2 Thunder Bay 1
Game 2: Thunder Bay 2 Thief River Falls 0
Game 3: Thunder Bay 5 Thief River Falls 2
Game 4: Sunday, April 8 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Fort William Gardens)
Game 5: Monday, April 9 @ Thief River Falls 7 p.m. CT (Ralph Engelstad Arena)
Game 6*: Wednesday, April 11 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Fort William Gardens)
Game 7*: Thursday, April 12 @ Thief River Falls 7 p.m. CT (Ralph Engelstad Arena)
*- if necessary
Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com