Lakers hold late Norskies rally to take quarter-final series



Release Date: Saturday, March 25, 2017

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere

Lakers hold late Norskies rally to take quarter-final series

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – The Fort Frances Lakers built up a three-goal lead into the latter stages of the third period, but had to withstand a late comeback bid by the Thief River Norskies before eventually prevailing 3-2 in Game 4 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League quarter-final series Saturday at Ice for Kids Arena.

With the victory, Fort Frances wins the best-of-five set 3-1 and will now move on to meet the No. 1 seeded Dryden GM Ice Dogs in SIJHL semifinal action, with that best-of-seven affair slated to begin on Wednesday at Dryden’s Memorial Arena at 7:30 p.m.

The Lakers came out flying to begin Saturday’s contest as they grabbed a quick 2-0 lead before the match-up was a minute old.

Jack Bernie put the home side in front 32 seconds after the opening face-off while teammate Dylan Kooner less than a half-minute later.

The first period onslaught continued for Fort Frances when Ian Jarvis collected the eventual game-winner at 16:34 during a man advantage opportunity.

Thief River Falls battled to get on the board, firing 17 shots on net in each of the first two periods, but were stymied by Lakers’ starter Brandon Bodnar.

Continuing to press the attack, the Norskies were finally rewarded at 15:25 of the final frame on Tommy Stang’s second of the series.

The visitors kept coming and pulled to within one with 3:31 left in regulation as Jared Pederson notched his initial league postseason tally.

The Norskies pulled netminder Ryan Buttazzoni for the final minute and a half, however Fort Frances held on from there to secure the victory and take the series.

Bodnar faced 48 shots to earn the decision for the Lakers while Ryan Buttazzoni saw 24 attempts fired his way in the season-ending setback for Thief River Falls.

The complete semifinal schedule between the Lakers and GM Ice Dogs will be announced once it is finalized.

All SIJHL playoff games will be streamed live online at

SIJHL quarter-final
No. 4 Thief River Falls Norskies vs. No. 5 Fort Frances Lakers
Fort Frances wins best-of-five series 3-1
Game 1: Fort Frances 4 Thief River Falls 1
Game 2: Fort Frances 5 Thief River Falls 4
Game 3: Thief River Falls 6 Fort Frances 0
Game 4: Fort Frances 3 Thief River Falls 2