Miners knock off league-leading North Stars

RED LAKE, Ont. – The Red Lake Miners picked up three points apiece from Michael Di Lullo and Spencer Milne to help them top the Superior International Junior Hockey League-leading Thunder Bay North Stars 3-1 Friday evening at Cochenour Arena.

In a contest featuring the top two teams in the SIJHL standings, the match-up was scoreless through a tight-checking opening 20 minutes.

However, Red Lake made the most of 10 second-period shots to jump out to a 3-0 lead after two.

Morgan Venne got the Miners going in the first shift of the middle stanza as he finished off the work of teammates Di Lullo and Milne.

The trio then combined to put the home side up by a pair midway through the session as Di Lullo connected on a man advantage opportunity.

Di Lullo then added another at 17:08 as Red Lake took a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.

Thunder Bay, who out shot the Miners 31-21 on the night, got one back with 10:16 remaining in regulation thanks to Ryan Mignault’s 25th of the campaign.

However, Red Lake shut the door from there to earn the home win and pull within three points of the North Stars in the overall league standings.

Zach Willms started for the Miners and stopped all 10 attempts he faced in the first frame before Vince Benedetto entered to begin the second stanza and handled 20 of 21 in relief to record the victory.

Dougie Newhouse made 18 stops in defeat for the visitors.

The same two teams meet again Saturday back in Red Lake at 7:30 p.m.

Photo credit: Patrick Boucha