Thunder Bay's Nikolas Campbell (right) changes direction on Wisconsin's Jack Jones on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at Fort William Gardens. (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

Fast start sends North Stars past Lumberjacks

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Four first period goals before the contest was 14 minutes old helped send the Thunder Bay North Stars to an eventual 7-3 triumph over the Wisconsin Lumberjacks in Superior International Junior Hockey League play Saturday at the Fort William Gardens.

Nikolas Campbell put the North Stars on their way as he scored 25 seconds in to put the hosts up early.

Thunder Bay kept coming and got markers from Jett Leishman, Jacob Brown and Logan Mihalcin to make it 4-0.

Battling back, Wisconsin regrouped with a pair of late goals in the first compliments of Ryley Cardinal and Parker Brakebill to make it a 4-2 game heading into opening intermission.

The home side got those back by getting both tallies in the second stanza, including one on a dump in by Max Fortin that appeared to be heading behind the Lumberjacks net, but instead saw the puck carom off a stanchion and sailed into the empty net after Nathan Mueller had gone out to play it.

Hunter Foreshew added the other Thunder Bay tally in the session.

Another fortunate break gave the North Stars their seventh marker of the night when a Wisconsin defender inadvertently shot the puck into his own net that resulted in Thunder Bay’s Alex Erwin getting credit for it.

The Lumberjacks rounded out the scoring with just over a minute to go with a Tyler Shetland attempt on net hitting off Austin Cardinal and bouncing past North Stars’ netminder Jordan Smith.

Cody Bruchkowksi chipped in with three assists for the winners as he ran a point streak to four straight outings.

Shots on goal finished up 50-44 in favour of Thunder Bay with Smith getting the victory while Mueller suffered the setback.

Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com