Norskies rally for OT win over North Stars

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – A Pete Grytdahl short-side goal 1:58 into overtime helped the red-hot Thief River Falls Norskies reel off their 16th consecutive Superior International Junior Hockey League victory Friday night as they defeated the Thunder Bay North Stars 4-3 at the Fort William Gardens.

The No. 1 Canadian Junior Hockey League-ranked Norskies got off to a strong road start as they grabbed a 2-0 lead after one period of play on markers by Blair Lindholm and Parker Simonson.

Thunder Bay battled back in the second stanza with a pair of tallies of their own to knot the affair at 2-2 after two thanks to Owen Belisle and Jared Fanti, who was making his season debut.

The North Stars then took the lead 3:17 into the third as Dillon Ward wired a shot from the slot that flew past Thief River Falls’ starter Bailey Schmitz.

Undaunted, the visitors countered to tie it and force extra time with 9:05 left in regulation as Simonson was left alone and front and chipped the equalizer past Thunder Bay netminder Brandon Gordon.

In OT, Grytdahl won it for the Norskies helping them improve to 16-0 on the season as his shot from the left side fooled Bodnar and slipped under his pad to keep his team’s franchise-record streak intact.

Schmitz was solid in the win for Thief River Falls making 40 saves in the victory.

Bodnar handled 26 of 30 in defeat for the North Stars who saw their five-game win streak come to a close on a night in which they did earn a point.

Joe Newhouse had two assists in a losing cause for Thunder Bay.

The same two teams meet again Saturday back at the Gardens in a 7:30 p.m. start.

Photo credit: Gary Moskalyk