By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – Round two of the three-game weekend series went to the Miners.
Ethan Neitsch stopped 46 of 48 and Luke DeCorby was the only player to score in the shootout as Red Lake pulled out a dramatic 3-2 win over the Thunder Bay North Stars. The crowd of 510 got their money’s worth as the teams battled for 65 minutes, before DeCorby fired one past Ethan Barron blocker side and Easton Mikus was stymied by Neitsch for the win.
The Miners scored solo tallies in the first and second periods before the Stars struck for a pair in the third.
Austin Derzaph got Red Lake on the board at 12:52 of the first period. His point shot beat Barron six seconds into a Miners’ powerplay for his first of the season.
Ethan Cerone and Carter Deschamps rumbled into the Stars zone on a 2-on-1 and Cerone wristed one past Barron at 7:38 of the second to forge a two-goal lead for the Miners.
Neitsch made 21 saves in the first period, 11 in the second, and had three or four in the third before a wide open Tyler Jordan accepted a pass from Cohen Tangedahl and backhanded his 12th past Neitsch to make it 2-1.
Mikus squeezed one past Neitsch at 12:34 and just over the line for his 15th to tie the game.
Both goalies brought their ‘A’ game. Neitsch was named first star and Barron was selected second.
Overtime failed to resolve the contest with both teams having four shots on net.
Nathan Dann and Preston Tauter for Red Lake, and Jordan and Edison Weeks for Thunder Bay were denied in the shootout. DeCorby’s laser put the Miners up, Mikus was stopped and the Miners celebrated a clutch victory.
The tie enabled the Stars to increase their unbeaten streak to 14 and retain a tenuous hold on first place with Kam River, who defeated Dryden 6-4 on Friday. Both teams have 28 points. The Walleye have three games in hand.
The Miners have won five of their last six.
Neitsch raised his record to 3-4-1 with the win in back-to-back starts, lowering his GAA to 2.09. Barron’s record stands at 4-2-2.
Thunder Bay took six of 10 minor penalties. Red Lake was 1-6 on the powerplay, while the Stars were 0-4.