THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Cody Bruchkowski scored three times and dished out two assists to help the Thunder Bay North Stars hand the Red Lake Miners their first loss of the season with an 8-3 result in Superior International Junior Hockey League action at the Fort William Gardens.
Bruchkowski started the scoring for Thunder Bay 71 seconds into the contest only to see Red Lake strike twice in rapid succession beginning with a Rajvir Sangha wrister from the right point during a two-man advantage before Jordan Baranesky stuffed in his first SIJHL goal from close range during a scramble in front at 15:23.
A close play just as time expired in the first frame saw the North Stars being credited with the tying tally as the siren sounded that was ruled by the on-ice officials as a goal with Evan Nicholas getting credit for the marker.
Some crisp passing by the home side early in the second saw Jacob Anttonen make it 3-2 Thunder Bay only to see Baranesky notch his second of the night as he scored on the power play.
Up a skater themselves, Bruchkowski buried a Robert Tyska cross-ice feed before Joel Willan jammed one in past a sprawled Zach Willms in the Miners net.
In the third, Ben Erwin put an end to Willms’ night with his third of the campaign coming at 3:17.
Nickolas Campbell greeted new Red Lake netminder Samuel Gendron with a slick move through a pair of Miners’ defenders before snapping a shot into the bottom left corner.
Bruchkowski then got some luck to complete his hat trick in the final minute as he was the last to touch the puck before a Red Lake defenceman inadvertently batted the puck into his own goal to round out the scoring.
Anttonen had three assists to go with his marker.
The North Stars out shot their opponents 32-30 with Jordan Smith picking up the win.
Willms suffered the loss allowing six on 23 attempts while Gendron saved seven of nine in relief.
With the result, Thunder Bay moves into top spot in the SIJHL standings with a 6-1 record and 12 points while second place Red Lake slips to 5-1 with their initial defeat.
The same two teams will meet again Saturday back at the Gardens in a 7:30 p.m. start.
Photo credit: Gary Moskalyk