Frantic finish see Lakers rally past Iron Rangers

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Nick Lucas tallied twice and added an assist while Noah Loveday picked up the game-winning goal with 26 seconds left in regulation as the Fort Frances Lakers rallied for a frantic 6-5 finish over the Minnesota Iron Rangers in Superior International Junior Hockey League play Friday at Ice for Kids Arena.

A free-wheeling first frame saw each side score twice in the session with Christian Ward and Lukas Lundgren picking up markers for Minnesota while MacKenzie Flett, on the power play, and Lucas, at even strength, countered for Fort Frances.

Special teams were pivotal in the second stanza as the Iron Rangers’ Wyatt Phaneuf and Aaron Koivunen both connected on the man advantage to put the visitors up by a pair.

However, the Lakers, who missed on a penalty shot earlier in the frame, battled back late in the session with Kirk Coppock collecting his third goal early in the season, which came during a power play at 17:21 while Lucas tied it once more with 11 seconds remaining in the period.

A lengthy man advantage to begin the third helped Fort Frances take their first lead when Dustin Roitelman found the back of the net at 5:31.

It stayed that way until late in regulation when Minnesota’s Evan Hendrickson notched the equalizer at 18:20.

However, with overtime looming, Loveday struck late to pull out the victory for Fort Frances.

Shots on goal on the night were 59-24 in favour of Lakers with Matt Booth registering the win while Nick Corneliusen made 50-plus saves in defeat for the Iron Rangers.

With the result the Lakers have started 3-0 to begin a season for the first time since back in September of 2015 when they did like wise.

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere