By Gary Moskalyk
Kenora, ON – One game in and the expansion Kenora Islanders already have a classic game under their belt. And they’re tied for first place, too. Reid Zurkan beat William Forrester glove side–the 10th man in the shootout–as the Kenora Islanders defeated Wisconsin 4-3 before 787 fans at Moncrief Construction Sports Centre.
Islanders’ goalie Matt Stephens stopped 37 of 40 and Forrester turned aside 28 of 31 in 65 minutes of play. Stephens made a 10-bell save on Wisconsin’s William McDonnel, and Forrester stoned Kenora’s Brayden Mackay in 3-on-3 overtime. Braden Swampy beat Forrester but not the post as Kenora’s 4th shooter. The Kenora-born Zurkan clicked on the 5th, making rookie head coach Cody Genaille a winner in his first game.
The irony of it all is that shootout goals don’t count in the scoring totals. Zurkan had 12 penalty minutes in the game but scored a most historic goal.
Darian Sinclair scored the first goal in franchise history at 5:48 of the first. Kaden Postal tied it at 14:46. Wisconsin took a pair of leads in the second. Simon Davidson made it 2-1, Jayden MacPherson-Nepinak tied it at 2-all, and Bradyn Young gave the Lumberjacks a 3-2 lead heading into the 3rd.
Aaron Bertschinger knotted the score at 3-all at 11:52 of the third.
Wisconsin had 28 penalty minutes. Kenora had 26 in a feisty contest. Both teams scored a goal on the powerplay.
The teams battle again on Saturday.