Day 1 SIJHL Showcase Review

March 1, 2022

Spooner, Wisconsin

It was an action-packed day for Day 1 of the 2022 SIJHL Showcase at the Spooner Civic Center in Spooner, Wiscsonsin.

Thunder Bay North Stars 4
Kam River Fighting Walleye 6

The day kicked off with an all-Thunder Bay Area matchup featuring the Thunder Bay North Stars and the Kam River Fighting Walleye.  It was the Fighting Walleye’s Carson Gorst that opened the scoring at the 5:57 mark finding a loose puck near the crease and burying.

The North Stars then rattled off four-straight goals – two to finish the second and two to open the third – to stun the first place Fish and open up a 4-1 lead.

Defenceman Drew Caddo got things going with a seeing-eye wrister from the point, and Pier-Luc Bellard converted a good North Stars’ rush chance to take a 2-1 lead into the first break.

Lou Vesperini and Bellard with his second of the night stretched the lead to 4-1 by the time the second was 7 minutes old.

Then it was the Fighting Walleye’s turn to put some numbers on the board.   Gorst potted his second of the night barely a minute after Bellard’s was followed up by singles from Holden Woodcroft and Jeremy Dunmore levelled the score at 4 with just under five minutes remaining in the stanza.

That was all the scoring until the Fish snapped the tie with a less than two minutes to play courtesy of a Zach Fortin one-time on the power play that held up to be the game-winner.  Ethan Lang sealed it with an empty netter in the dying seconds.

Kam River finished 2 for 2 on the power play.  Thunder Bay was 0 for 1.  Three stars were Carson Gorst (1st – Kam River), Jeremy Dunmore (2nd – Kam River) and Pier-Luc Bellard (Thunder Bay – 3rd).

Fort Frances Lakers 2
Dryden GM Ice Dog 5

The middle game of the day opened up with with a back and forth period that started with a Fort Frances lead, gave way to a Dryden lead and ended up tied.

Ty Milgate opened up for Fort Frances cleaning up a rebound before the game was seven minutes old, only to be negated by the first of two on the night from Dryden’s Lang Lee.

The teams traded goals in the back half of the period, with Tristan Takats potting his 19th of the season to give the Ice Dogs the lead, only to tied by a goal off the stick of Lakers’ Ian Kimble to knot the score at two after the first.

From that point, though, the rest of the offence was provided by the Ice Dogs, with Nakoda Thunderchief putting the only marker on the board in the middle frame to take the lead after 2.

Brady Frattinger extended the lead to 4-2 before the ice was even dry in the third.  Lang Lee finished off the scoring about three minutes later which marked the end of the scoring for the game.

Fort Frances finished the game 0/3 on the power play, while Dryden never played with the man-advantage.  Shots were 57-23 in favour of the Ice Dogs.

Three stars of the game were Lakers’ goalie Mason Meyer (1st), Dryden’s Jordan Gangon who recorded three assists on the afternoon, and Ice Dogs’ Lang Lee.

Red Lake Miners 1
Wisconsin Lumberjacks 5

In the final game of the day, it was the Lumberjacks jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead by the time the game was barely 5 minutes old.

It was the Lumberjacks’ leading scorer Brock Weimer responsible for that damage, assisting – along with Zach Carson – on the opening goal by Ryder McMillen.  Weimer then potted one of his own, short-handed just after the 5-minute mark to extend the lead to 2-0 which is how the first period ended.

The Miners cut that lead in half with the only goal in the second off the stick of Ryan Howe with a helper from Ryan Hunter.

In the third though, it was all Lumberjacks as they continued to extend their lead with two in rapid succession, first off the stick of Jack Ekholm at the 7:20 mark and then Weimer’s second of the night to extend the Lumberjacks’ lead to 4-1.

For good measure, Jacob Rezac banged in a rebound off the a late face-off with 10 seconds remaining.

Final shots were 56-36 in favour of the Miners.

Lumberjacks’ Kyler Lowden turned away 55 of the 56 shots he faced in an outstanding performance to earn the first star.   Weimer with 2 goals and an assist earned the game’s second star, and Rezac was named the game’s third star.

Wednesday will be an off-day for games at the showcase, with the teams taking part in a luncheon and information session in the afternoon, and the SIJHL Team Skills Competition in the evening.  Game action resumes on Thursday morning.