By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – Magnus Pearson scored two of the three North Stars’ goals in the first period and EJ Paddington picked up three assists as Thunder Bay opened their best-of-seven series against Red Lake with a 4-1 win at Fort William Gardens.
Conner Lemieux made 37 saves for Thunder Bay.
Pearson’s dangle three minutes in and Nikolas Campbell’s backhander two minutes later put the Stars up two early. Pearson batted in his second at 13:15 on a centering feed from Paddington for a 3-0 lead.
Paddington collected assists on all three goals.
The Miners came out flat in the first frame being outshot 15-8.
The teams combined for 36 shots in the second. Red Lake scored the only goal of the period. Quintyn Sidaway’s wrister from the point with 24 seconds left in a Miners’ powerplay tightened the score.
Mason Wesley buried Nolan Desjardins’ feed at 12:47 of the third to finish the scoring.
Red Lake was 1-2 with the man advantage while killing off two Thunder Bay chances. The teams were assessed three minor penalties apiece.
Sam Skillestad contributed two assists to the Thunder Bay cause.
Jack Osmond stopped 43 Thunder Bay shots.
A crowd of 570 was in attendance. Game two is Friday at 7:30 p.m.