By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – Nikolas Campbell and EJ Paddington notched a pair each, and Thunder Bay’s special teams had a special night (two on the powerplay and one shorthanded) as the North Stars defeated the Sioux Lookout Bombers 5-3 before 307 fans at the Fort William Gardens. The win put the Stars two points back of second place Red Lake and three back of the Bombers.
The Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Sam Skillestad scored his first goal as a North Star with a one-timer on the powerplay at 5:52. Campbell scored on a give-and-go with Colby Feist at 7:59, and Campbell inadvertently deflected Skillestad’s point shot with his skate and in at 13:49. Skillestad did the fly-by but Campbell was ultimately awarded his 6th goal of the year in his 8th game for Thunder Bay’s second powerplay goal.
Ty Bahm scored on a backhander at 18:20 for the Bombers to make it 3-1 after 20.
Tegan Neuman converted Bahm’s pass into a wide open cage as the Bombers pulled to within one. Paddington scored 28 seconds later, deflecting Matt Halushak’s point shot to regain a two-goal lead.
Connor Burke scored at the expiration of a Thunder Bay powerplay, collecting his 11th at 2:22 of the third. Paddington’s shorthanded marker at 12:53 of third ended the scoring. Paddington rumbled in from the Bomber blue line, got in close, and went five-hole for his 10th of the year.
Sioux Lookout was hemmed in their zone late in the game. Jake Manners finally got pulled for an extra attacker with 24 seconds left.
Keenan Marks earned his 8th win with a 36-save effort. Manners dropped to 16-10-1 stopping 44 of 49.
Colby Feist had two assists for Thunder Bay. Neumann and Bahm had a goal and assist each for Sioux Lookout.
Nine minor penalties were called. Thunder Bay was 2-5 on the PP while Sioux Lookout was 0-4.
The Bombers have the rest of the week off. Thunder Bay tackles the Ice Dogs for a weekend showdown of two storied franchises.