Red Lake's Carson Lux (left) chases down Thunder Bay's Michael Vecchio in first-period play on Friday, Jan. 10, 2019 at Fort WIlliam Gardens. (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

North Stars rally for home ice victory vs. Miners

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – After falling behind early, the Thunder Bay North Stars rallied for an eventual 6-3 come from behind victory over the visiting Red Lake Miners Friday in Superior International Junior Hockey League action at the Fort William Gardens.

Featuring the top two teams in the SIJHL standings, it was second place Red Lake that started strong as Ryan Howe connected on an early power play to put the guests in front.

The Miners then went up by a pair at 12:37 of the first frame as Ethan Stuckless went upstairs on Thunder Bay starter Seth McKay.

Answering right back, the North Stars tallied twice in a 29-second span to knot the affair when Hunter Foreshew and Jacob Brown both found the back of the net in quick order.

A late man advantage helped Thunder Bay take the lead before the session was complete on Joel Willan’s 12th of the season.

Up a skater in the second, Alex Erwin redirected in a Maxime Fortin attempt from the point to put the hosts up 4-2.

They then added another at 19:34 when Nikolas Campbell sent Cody Bruchkowksi in alone on a breakaway where the SIJHL’s leading-scorer made no mistake as he buried his league-best 33rd goal to extend the North Stars led.

Third period play saw the two clubs trade man advantage efforts to round out the night’s scoring as Ben Erwin connected for Thunder Bay before Noah Kwasny countered for Red Lake to wrap things up offensively.

Fortin dished out three assists to help lead the North Stars cause while Campbell and Bruchkowski joined him with three-point performances with two assists apiece.

McKay made 34 saves to record the win.

Zach Willms started for the Miners and suffered the loss, allowing five against on 30 shots in two periods of work while Cody Levesque came in for the third and handled 18 of 19 in relief.

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

Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com