By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, On – Fort Frances is on a three-game winning streak and goaltender Brenden Stroble is a huge part of it. They travel to Wisconsin to take on the Lumberjacks in a pair. After a promising start the Lumberjacks are in a major slump, winless in their last 11 games including the whole month of November.
Thunder Bay entertains Kam River for a weekend barnburner Friday and Saturday at the Gardens.
Sioux Lookout travels to Dryden for two games featuring evenly matched teams.
Red Lake, and Jacob Lamoureux’s 19 goals, have the week off.
Seven games, one midweek contest, plenty of intrigue.
Thunder Bay 10-4-2 GF 67 GA 48 @ Sioux Lookout 11-7-0 GF 72 GA 56, Wed Nov 30
Thunder Bay is the SIJHL’s hottest team, sporting a six-game unbeaten streak and 8-1-1 record in their last 10. They are +19 in 16 games. Thunder Bay has been able to stay fresh as Wednesday will be just their fifth and final game of the month.
Edison Weeks and Dylan Winsor have 19 points each. Bobby Doukov, Noah Broughton and Dimitri Trahiotis are all averaging over a point-a-game.
In net, Conner Lemieux leads the SI in GAA with a 2.55 mark. Keenan Marks is undefeated in the cage with four wins in as many starts.
Thunder Bay averages 25.1 minutes per game in the box.
Their power play is 22.9%–above the league average of 17.2%. The penalty kill is 85.5%. Both numbers place them second.
Three new players have infused the offense.
Jamie Fuchs and Colby Feist have nine points each. Fuchs has four goals in four games and Feist has five tallies in five games. Jake Parker has five points in four games.
Sioux Lookout handed Thunder Bay its worst loss of the year–a 9-2 drubbing in the Showcase Event back in October. The season series stands at 2-1-0 in favour of the Bombers.
Rookie Blake Burke and Lucas Trimarchi have 19 points each. Ty Bahm (15), Connor Burke (14), Owen Riffel (13) and Graeme Patrick (13) round out the top forwards.
Jake Manners has nine wins in net, a 2.61 GAA and .910 SV%. Odin Church is in reserve.
Overall, the Bombers are +16, scoring at a 4.00 goals a game pace, while allowing a stingy 3.11 GPG. They’re 18.9% with the man advantage, and 83.3% while killing a penalty.
Sioux Lookout averages 26.1 minutes in the box.
Kam River 17-5-1 GF 86 GA 68 @ Thunder Bay 10-4-2 GF 67 GA 48, Fri/Sat Dec 2/3
The SIJHL’s hottest rivalry sees a pair of weekend games at the Fort William Gardens. Kam River has a regulation win and an overtime win in the first two installments.
The Walleye power play continues to improve. Now at 13.2%, it crested double-digits a few weeks ago. They’ve allowed only one shorthanded goal all season. The penalty kill is 83.5%.
Ethan Lang has 25 points and is second in the league with 21 assists. Jeremy Dunmore has 10 goals and 22 points. Depth scoring? Plenty of that. Euan Morrison, defenceman Jack Cook, Carson Gorst, Anthony Oviedo, rookie Max Leduc and Ryan Doucette all appear in the top-40.
In net, Eric Vanska has posted wins all year long. He’s 12-2-1 on the season, with a 2.89 GAA and .914 save percentage. Jack Orchard has five wins and a 2.61 GAA in reserve.
The Walleye are 7-3-0 in their last 10.
Fort Frances 5-14-0 GF 46 GA 100 @ Wisconsin 5-14-3 GF 80 GA 104 Fri/Sat Dec 2/3
There’s finally something to cheer about in Fort Frances. Brenden Stroble’s tough start is old news. In his last five games he’s seen more rubber than the trans-Canada highway, stopping 263 of 278 shots for a .946 save percentage. His last three starts were wins. All of this in an 11-day stretch.
Ryan Tanner and Kaden King are reserves.
Ryker Watt and Clark Scaddan continue to ascend the scoring charts (14 and 13 points respectively) with plenty of physicality to go along with it.
Coach McLean and staff have added new players to flesh out the roster. Eli Neilson and Cooper Fink have been welcome additions.
A three-game winning streak has the Lakers in a positive frame of mind.
Wisconsin is winless in 11.
Despite having the top two point-getters in the league in Ryder McMillen (13-26-39) and defenceman Zach Carson (12-15-27), number four, Sal Poggiali (13-12-25), number eight Dillon Phillips (8-16-24), plus Brandon McDonald at 19 points and defenceman Dylan Jouppi with 18 assists and a goal, the Lumberjacks find themselves with five wins on the campaign.
The Lumberjacks are starting to lose by more than a goal or two–although they have plenty of those tough losses on the books too.
Well rested after a bye week the Lumberjacks are looking to reverse their fortunes against a team that just recently found their stride.
Kyler Lowden is looking to bounce back after three tough starts in net. Keegan Strong, Emmett Doherty and William Forrester supply back-up.
Wisconsin has allowed seven shorthanded goals while scoring five down a man, both tops in the league.
Sioux Lookout @ Dryden 10-6-0 GF 73 GA 52
The Ice Dogs are +21 on the season in just 16 games. Tough, high scoring and frugal, Dryden is 7-3-0 in their last 10 but losers of their last two.
The Dogs have the league’s best power play at 24.1% and a good penalty kill at 85.2%,.
Bryce Benfield (7-12-19) and Ryland Maier (8-9-17) lead the team in points. James Hooton and Jordan Pfoh each have eight goals and six assists. Landen Stromme leads the team in goals with nine. Captain Brady Frattinger is 3-10-13 with 29 PIMs.
Rookie Max Roby is lighting the lamp with seven goals in seven games.
Eric Clark and Zac MacDonald share duties between the pipes. Clark has 596 minutes between the pipes and six wins. MacDonald is 4-2-0 with a 2.79 GAA.
Dryden averages 31.1 penalty minutes per game, 8.4 above league average.
Catch all of this week’s action at SIJHLTV!