FORT FRANCES, Ont. – An Ethan Stuckless strike with just under three minutes left in regulation was the difference as the Red Lake Miners pulled out a late 2-1 triumph over the Fort Frances Lakers in Superior International Junior Hockey League play Friday at Ice for Kids Arena.
The Miners opened the scoring early in the contest on a nice individual effort off the draw by a Ryan Howe wraparound as he put in his 14th of the season.
Fort Frances came back to tie it up a few shifts later as Kyle Uzelman buried his 11th from in close to knot the affair at 1-1 after one.
Following a scoreless middle stanza, Red Lake had a chance to regain the lead at 4:31 but Lakers’ netminder Dean Buchholz thwarted Jordan Baranesky on a penalty shot to keep the score level.
However, deep into the third, with some pressure in the Fort Frances zone, Howe got it in front to Stuckless who finished off a backhand past from the slot with the game-winner.
The Lakers pulled their goaltender and pressed for the equalizer, but could not solve Zach Willms in the Miners net, who made 38 saves in picking up the decision.
Buchholz meanwhile faced 28 shots in the narrow defeat.
The two sides will finish off a home-and-home Saturday in Red Lake with game time set for 7 p.m. at Cochenour Arena.