Fort Frances' Flynn Perry (left) and Thunder Bay's Hunter Foreshew chase down the puck in first period play on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019 at Fort William Gardens (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com)

Bruchkowski buries 2 late as North Stars get past Lakers

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League’s leading scorer tacked on two more to his totals Friday night as Cody Bruchkowksi tallied twice late in the third period to help lead the Thunder Bay North Stars to a 4-2 victory over the Fort Frances Lakers at the Fort William Gardens.

Thunder Bay also opened the scoring near the nine-minute mark of the contest when Nikolas Campbell stuffed in a Joel Willan feed.

Fort Frances countered with the equalizer at 15:50 of the first when Matthieu Harrold’s attempt from the right side found its way through North Stars starter Seth McKay.

The home side regained the lead early in the second stanza as defenceman Kyler Belluz bagged his second of the season on a shot from the right point.

Answering back again, the Lakers drew level once more deep into the middle frame thanks to Cooper Witherspoon, who powered his way past a Thunder Bay defender and slid a low shot under McMay for his third of the year.

The North Stars opted to replace McKay in favour of Jordan Smith to begin the third.

In the final session it stayed tied until late in regulation when Jacob Brown sent a crisp cross-ice pass over to a waiting Bruchkowksi, who promptly ripped the game-winner past Fort Frances netminder Dean Buchholz.

Bruchkowski then capped off the victory in the final minute as he was sent in on a break during a man advantage and snapped home his league-leading 27th tally at 19:04 to help secure the victory.

Smith made three stops in relief to record the win and assisted on the evening’s final marker, while McKay handled 24 of 26.

Buchholz was busy in defeat for the Lakers, making 51 saves on the night.

The same two teams will meet again Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. start back at the Gardens.

Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com