THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. – Blake Nelson had a hat trick while Boe Bjorge and Brett Piper had four assists apiece as the Thief River Falls Norskies humbled the Minnesota Iron Rangers 12-0 Wednesday in Game 1 Superior International Junior Hockey League quarter-final series Ralph Engelstad Arena.
It was all Thief River Falls from the onset as they skated out to a 3-0 lead after one period of play on a pair of Nelson markers and a single off the stick of Alec Daman.
The Norskies kept going and tacked on four more in the middle session as Owen Lee, Tyler Johnson, Bryce Johnson and Bjorge all found the back of the net.
They then finished off the romp in the final frame on goals from Tate Steffan, Bryce Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Riley Bergland and Nelson.
Bailey Schmitz posted the shutout in net for Thief River Falls.
Synjen Amende started for the Iron Rangers and suffered the loss while Nick Corneliusen entered with 7:14 remaining in a relief stint.
Game 2 in this best-of-five goes Thursday at 7 p.m. back at ‘The Ralph.’
No. 3 Thief River Falls Norskies vs. No. 6 Minnesota Iron Rangers
Thief River Falls leads best-of-five series 1-0
Game 1: Thief River Falls 12 Minnesota 0
Game 2: Thursday, March 21 @ Thief River Falls 7 p.m. (Ralph Engelstad Arena)
Game 3: Saturday, March 23 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes Arena)
Game 4*: Sunday, March 24 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes Arena)
Game 5*: Tuesday, March 26 @ Thief River Falls 7 p.m. (Ralph Engelstad Arena)
Photo credit: Tim Benton