FORT FRANCES, Ont. – A Cory Checco shorthanded goal 11 and a half minutes into the third period proved to be the decider as the Thief River Falls Norskies skated to an eventual 4-3 decision over the Fort Frances Lakers in Superior International Junior Hockey League play Friday at Ice for Kids Arena.
The visitors also opened the scoring 14:50 into the opening frame as Bryce Johnson snapped in his 15th of the season during a man advantage opportunity.
Thief River Falls then came right back to go up by a pair a couple of shifts later as former Fort Frances forward Isaac Baron buried one from the left side to extend the visitors lead.
On the power play to begin the middle session, the Lakers got on the board 55 second in with Flynn Perry banking one in from close range.
It was more Fort Frances just over a minute later when Stone Stelzl set-up Kyle Uzelman for his ninth to knot the affair at 2—2.
Down a skater shortly afterwards, the home side added another as Ben Hoefler’s attempt towards the net clipped off a Norskies defender and changed direction just enough to get past TRF starter Joshua Seeley.
That held up until early in the third when Nick Harder supplied the equalizer from the slot at 2:29.
Then benefitting from a turnover deep in Lakers territory, Checco quickly snapped in the eventual game-winner from the right faceoff circle to finish off a three-point night.
Fort Frances did out shoot Thief River Falls 36-32 with Seeley getting the win while Dean Buchholz suffered the loss.
The clubs will finish off a weekend home-and-home Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena with game time set for 7 p.m.
Photo credit: Clint Bruyere