Miners hold off late Lakers surge in 6-5 win

RED LAKE, Ont. – Stratton Pickett picked up a goal and two assists as the Red Lake Miners held off a Brett Hahkala hat trick and a late surge by the Fort Frances to hold on for a narrow 6-5 victory in Superior International Junior Hockey League play Tuesday night at Cochenour Arena.

Red Lake started strong as they skated out to a 2-0 lead after one period of play on a Pickett power play marker along with a Keilan Toews even strength effort.

Hahkala helped Fort Frances get on the board 8:19 into the middle session during a man advantage only to see the Miners strike twice, via the power play, courtesy of Dante Tisi while up two skaters and Jackson Stephens with his side up one.

The Lakers’ Hahkala notched his second of the stanza at 16:47 as he clicked during a man advantage once more to make it 4-2 for the home side after 40 minutes.

Fort Frances came out quickly in the third to pull within one as Jaedin Ness buried his 19th just 18 seconds into the frame.

Countering, Red Lake tacked on two more off the sticks of Michael Di Lullo and Kyle Uzelman to go back up by three with over 12 minutes remaining.

Answering back, Hahkala reached the 20-goal plateau on the season as he completed his first SIJHL hat trick at 15:30.

Isaac Baron then brought the guests to within one once more, on a splendid individual effort, where he drove down the left wing before powering his way across the front on the crease and tucking in his 13th into the right open side of the net.

Tightening up, the Miners held firm the rest of the way to secure the win.

Bryce Young and Matt Krawiec dished out two assists apiece for Red Lake while Noah Loveday had a trio of helpers for Fort Frances.

Red Lake goaltender Vince Benedetto made 32 saves to record the victory while Lakers’ netminder Jacob Gnidziejko faced 45 attempts in defeat.

Photo credit: Patrick Boucha