North Stars hold off Lakers to win 8th straight

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – The Thunder Bay North Stars built up a four-goal lead then held off a Fort Frances Lakers comeback bid before eventually prevailing for their eighth Superior International Junior Hockey League win in a row Friday with a 5-2 triumph at Ice for Kids Arena.

Thunder Bay’s Evan Nicholas notched the lone marker in the first frame as he put his fourth of the season into the open side off a right point shot off the end boards that bounced right out to him for a tap in at 12:24.

Joel Willan at even strength and Ryan Mignault, via the power play, then connected in the middle stanza to put the visitors up by three after 40 minutes.

Willan then sent Jacob Anttonen in on a shorthanded breakaway tally in the third to make it 4-0.

Kirk Coppock’s eighth put the Lakers on the board at 8:36 while teammate Jaedin Ness added another for Fort Frances with Anttonen in the box as he finished off a nice three-way passing play with Nick Lucas and Brett Hahkala.

The home side then pulled starter Jacob Gnidziejko in the late going in an effort to draw closer, but Mignault iced it with a long-range empty netter at 19:25 to round out the night’s scoring.

Willan and Kyle Auger had two assists each for Thunder Bay in the triumph as did Lucas for the Lakers.

Shots on goal in the contest favoured the North Stars 49-31 with Brock Aiken picking up the win while Gnidziejko suffered the loss.

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere