Bugeja posts 1st SIJHL shutout as Lakers blank North Stars

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Alex Bugeja turned aside all 41 shots he faced to register his first Superior International Junior Hockey League shutout in backstopping the Fort Frances Lakers to a 2-0 victory over the Thunder Bay North Stars Saturday at Ice for Kids Arena.

It was a goaltender’s battle through the first two periods, which were both scoreless, thanks to the efforts of Bugeja and the North Stars’ Dylan Kosik.

A Fort Frances power play helped them collect the eventual game-winner, nearly nine minutes into the third, off some nice puck movement that was finished off Flynn Perry, who ripped a one-timer in the high slot off a Mathieu Harrold feed that flew into the top left hand corner of the net.

The Lakers then added some insurance with another man advantage effort at 16:57 as Colton Bodnar fired a shot that hit Tyler Malpass parked in front and in to round out the scoring.

Thunder Bay pulled Kosik for the final two minutes and 43 seconds of regulation, that also included a power play, to try and get on the board, but Bugeja was not to be beaten on this night.

With the win, Fort Frances also put an end to an impressive 21-game point streak of North Stars’ Cody Bruchkowski as the SIJHL’s leading goal and point getter was held off the score sheet for the first time since back on January 4 and only the second occasion dating back to November 23.

Kosik finished with 32 stops in the loss.

The two teams will meet again Tuesday back in the Fort at 7:30 p.m.

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere