North Stars win 7th straight with Showcase triumph over Lakers

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – The surging Thunder Bay North Stars skated to their seventh consecutive victory Tuesday night after defeating the Fort Frances Lakers 6-2 at the Superior International Junior Hockey League Showcase taking place at Ice for Kids Arena.

Fort Frances did open the night’s scoring as Thunder Bay starter Brandon Bodnar could not pick-up a loose puck in front of him that allowed Ian Tookenay to knock in his seventh of the season during an early power play chance.

Thunder Bay picked up the equalizer just past the 11-minute mark as Brendan Gillis collected his 16th goal of the campaign to knot the affair at 1-1.

Moving on to the middle frame, the Lakers regained the lead at 5:16 compliments of Jaedin Ness as he picked up his 20th tally to put them back in front.

Owen Belisle drew the North Stars level once more 14 minutes into the stanza then they came right back to go in front moments later on an Alex Leonidis effort.

With the club’s skating four aside in the third period, Thunder Bay worked the puck around back to the right point where Jake Behse snapped a shot through a maze that eluded Fort Frances goalkeeper Brett Akins.

A Joe Newhouse power play blast pinballed off a couple of Lakers’ defenders and in during the latter stages before Troy Sherman’s double deflection rounded out the scoring.

Sherman also chipped in with two assists on the night, as did Belisle and Gillis for Thunder Bay while Adam Withers had a couple of helpers for Fort Frances.

Bodnar made 29 stops to pick-up the win while Akins faced 44 attempts in defeat for the Lakers.

Day 2 of the SIJHL Showcase goes Wednesday back in Fort Frances with a trio of games on the slate.

Thunder Bay meets English River at 1 p.m., followed by Thief River Falls and Minnesota at 4:15 p.m. before Fort Frances and Dryden finish things off at 7:30 p.m.

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere