Shootout win over Fort Frances sends Thunder Bay to 5th straight triumph



Release Date: Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere

Shootout win over Fort Frances sends Thunder Bay to 5th straight triumph

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – A Nicholas Nigro goal in the shootout proved to be the difference maker as the Thunder Bay North Stars defeated the Fort Frances Lakers 4-3 Sunday in a Superior International Junior Hockey League contest at Ice for Kids Arena.

Thunder Bay started strong in this one, outshooting Fort Frances 19-9 in the opening period and was rewarded with markers by Brad Arabia at 4:44 along with Nigro’s team-leading seventh with 33 seconds to go in the session.

Special teams allowed the Lakers to get back in it early in the second as Dylan Kooner connected on the power play at 3:20.

Coming back, Jett Leishman’s first SIJHL goal at 8:47 allowed the North Stars to regain their cushion.

However Matt Tustin answered that for the home side a couple shifts later as he beat Thunder Bay starter Dan Demaria for his third of the campaign midway through the contest.

A nifty man advantage marker late in the second allowed Fort Frances to level the proceedings as Jared Virtanen snapped a shot high over Demaria from in close on the left side to knot the affair at 3-3 after 40 minutes.

Both netminders in the Lakers Ryan Wagner and the North Stars Demaria stood tall the rest of regulation sending the game into overtime.

Getting their first taste of the new SIJHL overtime format where the clubs start at three skaters’ aside, the two teams went end-to-end, including Demaria thwarting Tustin on a breakaway with a pad save, but the action could not determine a winner so the shootout was required to end it.

In extra shots Oliver Alcock went first for Fort Frances but was denied on his attempt while Arabia buried his opportunity with a quick wrist shot.

Up next both Tustin and Nigro capitalized on their respective chances with wrist shots forcing the Lakers into a must-score situation to keep the game going.

However Demaria came up with a high-blocker save on Virtanen to end it and give the visitors the extra point on the night.

Nigro also picked up two assists in the win for Thunder Bay.

With the result the league-leading North Stars improve to 5-0-0-0 early in the season while the three-time defending Bill Salonen Cup champions from Fort Frances are still in search in their initial victory as they fell to 0-4-0-1.

SIJHL action resumes Wednesday as the North Stars host the second place Dryden GM Ice Dogs (3-1-0-0) in a 7:30 p.m. start at the Fort William Gardens.

All league games are available online, via a pay-per-view basis, at