Miners off to SIJHL Final after handling Norskies

RED LAKE, Ont. – Bryce Young had a pair of second period goals while Zach Willms handled all 25 shots he faced to post a shutout to help lead the Red Lake Miners to a 5-0 victory over the Thief River Falls Norskies Friday night in Game 5 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League semifinal at Cochenour Arena.

With the outcome, Red Lake takes the best-of-seven series 4-1 and now advance to meet the Thunder Bay North Stars in the Bill Salonen Cup SIJHL championship series, which will get underway next week.

It was the Miners who opened the scoring 8:13 into the match-up as Stratton Pickett cut in on the left side and roofed one short side on Thief River Falls starter Bailey Schmitz.

Red Lake then added another in the late stages of the first frame as Connor Jacobs fired a hard pass from behind the net to Keegan Tiringer in the slot who let a shot go that Schmitz only got a piece off before the puck drifted into the back of the net at 19:17.

The Miners then broke it open in the middle stanza as they tacked on a trio of tallies in the session to go up by five after 40 minutes.

SIJHL MVP Bryce Young started the outburst by darting in between a pair of Norskies defender before wiring one home at 2:59.

They then added another four minutes later with captain Michael Di Lullo chipping one in from close range before Young capped off the period with a tap in following a cross-crease feed from Ethan Stuckless, who had two assists in the triumph.

Willms did the rest to register his initial league postseason shutout while Schmitz faced 31 attempts in the season-ending setback for the Norskies.

SIJHL Playoffs
Series D
Semifinal B
Red Lake Miners Thief River Falls Norskies
Miners win best-of-seven series 4-1
Game 1: Thief River Falls 5 Red Lake 4 (OT)
Game 2: Red Lake 5 Thief River Falls 2
Game 3: Red Lake 3 Thief River Falls 2
Game 4: Red Lake 5 Thief River Falls 1
Game 5: Red Lake 5 Thief River Falls 0

Photo credit: Patrick Boucha