SIJHL Showcase concludes with Lakers defeating Iron Rangers

HOYT LAKES, Minn. – Ethan Knutsen of the Fort Frances Lakers scored once and added three assists to aid in his club’s 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Iron Rangers in the finale of the Superior International Junior Hockey League Showcase at Hoyt Lakes Arena.

Minnesota took the early lead just 2:46 into the contest as Joshua Baker, saw Kurt Reger assist in getting the puck behind the net to him before feeding Joe Lech in the slot, who promptly buried his fourth goal of the season.

Fort Frances countered with the equalizer a couple shifts later though with Ethan Knutsen knocking in his third.

The Lakers then took the lead with a power play marker from Nate Drobnick at 10:49 to help them carry a 2-1 lead into the intermission.

Action in the second stanza saw Fort Frances click again with the man advantage that resulted in Isaac Baron being left with a tap in at 8:11.

Battling back, the Iron Rangers moved back to within one off a fortuitous bounce off a Garrett Wojcicki attempt on goal that saw the rebound hit off the glove of a Fort Frances defender and in past netminder Matt Booth who had no chance on the play.

Later in the session the Lakers struck twice in rapid succession as Jaedin Ness and Brett Hakala both connected from close range to make it 5-2 after 40 minutes.

Skating four aside, Fort Frances added to their lead 7:27 into the third as Reece Hopfner sent a cross-ice pass over to Anthony Antonelli who went high for his second of the campaign.

Minnesota got one back from defenceman Cam Birkeland, who collected his first SIJHL goal, as he snapped a shot from the left point that found its way into the back of the net with 6:09 to go.

The Lakers then rounded out the scoring in the final minute as a quick pass, deep in their own zone, followed by a redirection, sent Ness in alone as he hit the 14-tally mark on the campaign to finish things off.

Kirk Coppock dished out three assists to aid the Fort Frances cause.

Booth finished with 25 saves in net for Fort Frances to pickup the win while Minnesota starter Nick Corneliusen faced 50 attempts in defeat for the Iron Rangers.