By Gary Moskalyk
Bedlam, mayhem and chaos broke out at FWG and the 2,752 fans in attendance loved every minute of it. Euan Morrison scored at 0:55 of double overtime as the Fighting Walleye defeated Thunder Bay 6-5 to tie the best-of-seven final series at two games apiece. Game 5 is at Norwest on Sunday. Game 6 is at the Gardens on Monday.
Ryan Doucette scored his first of the playoffs on a pass from Noah Kramps to open the scoring at 10:55. Max Leduc converted on a two-on-one to give Kam River a 2-0 lead at 0:59 of the second. EJ Paddington and Sam Skillestad replied for the Stars. Doucette with his second, and Jeremy Dunmore re-established a two-goal margin for the visitors. The five-goal outburst all happened before the 10-minute mark of the middle frame.
Keenan Marks was pulled for the second consecutive game for Thunder Bay after Doucette’s goal.
Down by two, Thunder Bay scored three goals in a 5:20 span starting at 12:17 of the third. Colby Feist’s wrister, Evan Lachimea’s dangle and five-hole tantalizer and Nikolas Campbell’s 13th of the playoffs at 17:37 had the Stars up 5-4 with 2:33 left.
A failed clearing attempt led to Jack Cook’s game-tyer at 18:46. Cook’s wrist shot from the high slot eluded Conner Lemieux. If the game wasn’t exciting enough it morphed into another SIJHL classic in overtime one.
Kam River’s Eric Vanska stopped 13 Thunder Bay shots in the first extra period, while Lemieux faced nine.
Kam River’s Cook and Doucette both took misconduct penalties and Isiah Kinnavanthong’s minor penalty put Thunder Bay on their seventh powerplay of the game at 10:15 of the first extra time session.
The Stars failed to capitalize and finished 0-7 with the man advantage. Kam River was 0-2.
Logan Gallaher harmless looking shot from the side boards got a piece of Morrison and deflected past Lemieux for the game-winner.
Gallaher and Kyle Lamoureux had three assists each for the Walleye and Kramps chipped with a pair of helpers. Feist added an assist and Dylan Winsor had two assists for Thunder Bay.
Final shots favoured Thunder Bay 52-42. Vanska garnered his 6th win of the playoffs.
Kam River took seven of nine minor penalties assessed by Lance Dysevick and Scott Wrigley.
A moving pre-game tribute was paid to long-time SIJHL official Andrew Bartlett, who succumbed to cancer on April 24th at too early an age.