Oliver Paipoonge, ON – The two SIJHL teams from the Lakehead just can’t have a dull game against each other.
In typical Walleye-Stars rivalry fashion, it came down to a third period comeback, late tying goal, and a winner in overtime. On Friday night at NorWest Arena the near-capacity crowd was treated to a classic.
After a back-and-forth, but tightly played, first period went scoreless, the Fighting Walleye opened things up in the second. A Jacob Sargent point shot deflected in off of Kaden Goodwin to break the ice and give the home side a 1-0 lead early in the middle frame. It was Goodwin’s 10th goal of the season, and 6th in his last 8 games. Ryan Daponte followed up with a goal from the slot after a nice effort from Carter Poddubny, to make it a 2-0 game. When Riley Borody took a Jett Mintenko feed and stuffed the puck in to give the Walleye a 3-0 advantage, it appeared that the home team was in full control. But as history has proven time and time again, nothing is for sure when these two clubs meet. The North Stars began mounting their comeback.
Cameron Dial ripped a shot past Kam River goaltender Ashton Sadauskas late in the second period to cut the Walleye lead to 2 goals. Then, early in the third, Easton Mikus scored his 25th of the season, on the powerplay, to make it a 3-2 game. The comeback was completed at the 8-minute mark of the period when Alex Remenda scored on another Stars man-advantage. With the score knotted at 3, both teams fought furiously for the go-ahead goal. With just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Thunder Bay took the lead when Cohen Tangedal knocked in the puck off a goal mouth scramble. The late marker appeared to be a back breaker for the Walleye, but Evan Lachimea tied things up by batting the puck out of mid-air and into the back of the net. The equalizer with 1:12 left in the third period sent the game to overtime.
Walleye captain Jeremy Dunmore was the OT hero, scoring just 38 seconds in with a nice individual effort to give his team the extra point.
Ashton Sadauskas turned aside 36 of 40 shots for his league-leading 21st win of the campaign. Keenan Marks was great in between the pipes for the North Stars as well, saving 52 of 57 shots directed towards the visitors’ net.
Kam River travels to Sioux Lookout on Saturday for a crucial game against the Bombers.
Thunder Bay plays the Dryden GM Ice Dogs in Dryden on Saturday night.
G & G Excavating 3 Stars
3rd – Ashton Sadauskas KRW
2nd – Cohen Tangedal TBN
1st – Jeremy Dunmore KRW