Lakers hold off Lumberjacks 5-4

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Getting the game-winning goal and two earlier assists from Kyle Uzelman helped the Fort Frances Lakers skate to a narrow 5-4 victory over the visiting Wisconsin Lumberjacks in a Superior International Junior Hockey League match-up Friday at Ice for Kids Arena.

Fort Frances started strong with markers in the back half of the opening 20 minutes off the sticks of Brett Hahkala and Stone Stelzl, who got his 16th, with just 10 seconds left in the stanza.

Each team would connect twice in the second frame beginning with a Joel Matthews effort for Wisconsin at 1:07.

However, Peyton Hughes at even strength and Kiernan Bailey during a five-on-three man advantage put the Lakers up 4-1.

The Lumberjacks did get one of those back before the period came to a close as Ryan Green buried his 16th during a late power play.

In the third, Uzelman banged in the eventual difference maker at 4:36 to put the hosts up 5-2.

Battling back, Wisconsin saw Dalton Garcia convert with his side up a skater from the right of the crease midway through the period before Matt Turnbull snapped one in with 2:20 from the slot to bring the guests back to within on.

However, the hosts held on from there to win their second straight and move to within two points of the Lumberjacks in the league standings, while also holding two games in hand on them.

Lakers’ defenceman Matthew Dyck had a solid outing for his club and collected a pair of primary assists in the home ice triumph.

Adding a couple of helpers apiece for the visitors were blueliner Darren Shykes and forward Lukas Lundgren, with the later having already set personal single-season highs in goals, assists and points in the league with nine, seven and 16 respectively.

Dean Buchholz in net for Fort Frances made 36 saves in picking up the win while Nathan Mueller faced 39 attempts in defeat.