Lakers survive Lumberjacks rally with OT victory

SPOONER, Wis. – Recently acquired forward Kyle Uzelman had an impressive debut for the Fort Frances Lakers as he collected the game-winner early in overtime and dished out earlier four assists as his new side withstood a big comeback by the Wisconsin Lumberjacks before eventually prevailing with 6-5 decision in Superior International Junior Hockey League action Saturday at the Spooner Civic Center.

The first frame was all Fort Frances as they got goals from Tyler Malpass, Noah Loveday and Flynn Perry to take a 3-0 lead after one period.

After Kiernan Bailey went high on Wisconsin starter Matt Fitzgerald to make it 4-0 early in the second stanza, it was the Lumberjacks who roared to life.

Braden LaPorte got the home side going blasting one home from the left side at 4:33 before Dalton Garcia swiped the puck behind the net and fed an open Parker Brakebill in fron,t who finished off his sixth of the season at the seven-minute mark.

A two-man advantage helped the Lumberjacks add another with Ryan Green connecting from the slot.

They then tied it at 13:40 off a scrambled draw that resulted in Nicholas Foldesi snapping in his second from the right faceoff circle to knot the affair at 4-4.

The Lakers regained the lead three and a half minutes into the third when Stone Stezl knocked in his own rebound.

A nice cross-ice pass from Lukas Lundgren helped Wisconsin force overtime with 8:17 left in regulation as he found Cade Moreland who stuffed in the equalizer into the open side.

Heading to OT, MacKenzie Flett broke up a Lumberjacks rush allowing Uzelman, the former Red Lake Miners forward, and Malpass to skate into the Wisconsin zone where Uzelman eventually neatly tucked in the game-winner 24 seconds in to cap off the high-scoring affair in impressive style.

The home side did hold the edge in shots by a 40-33 margin with Alex Bugeja picking up the win while Fitzgerald suffered the loss, in helping his club earn a point in defeat.

Photo credit: Karina Schafer