By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – Thunder Bay’s point streak reached 15 games as EJ Paddington’s two goals and steady goaltending from Keenan Marks propelled the Stars to a 5-3 win over the Red Lake Miners. The win, combined with Kam River’s loss to Dryden, finds Thunder Bay in sole possession of first place.
The first period ended with five goals on the scoreboard.
Paddington made three separate dangles and slipped one through Noah Davis’ legs for his 13th as the Stars took a 1-0 lead at 3:31 of the first. Easton Mikus swept a backhander past Davis for his 16th of the season midway through the frame for a 2-0 edge. Landon van Engelen capitalized on a Stars’ giveaway to get the Miners to within one just over a minute later.
Owen Doherty backhanded a loose puck for his second of the season at 17:48 to regain a two goal Stars’ lead. With 10 seconds to go, Matthew McPherson buried a rebound for his 4th to pull the Miners to within one.
Head coach Lee Stone replaced Davis in net with game one and two starter Ethan Neitsch to begin the second period. Luke DeCorby pulled the Miners even at 1:59 of the second, firing his 6th just under the crossbar. Less than a minute later Paddington got one through Neitsch for number 14 on the year.
The Stars nursed the one-goal lead until late in the third. With 2:50 to go the Miners took a penalty. Thunder Bay controlled the ensuing faceoff, Cameron Dial fed Edison Weeks, and Weeks found a wide open Drew Caddo who one-timed an insurance marker 12 seconds into the powerplay for his second of the year.
The Miners were unable to get out an extra attacker with time winding down.
Other than Paddington, Weeks was the only other two-point man collecting two assists. The Paddington/Mikus/Weeks line are the top three scorers in the SIJHL–the only players with +30 points in the league.
Marks collected his 10th win against two losses. Neitsch’s record dropped to 3-5-1. Shots were 36-35 in favour of Red Lake.
Thunder Bay was 1-4 on the powerplay while Red Lake was 0-5. The Stars took 10 minors to Red Lake’s seven. Attendance was 549.