Piper’s hat trick paces Thief River Falls past Fort Frances

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Brett Piper scored three times to record his first Superior International Junior Hockey League hat trick Saturday to help propel the Thief River Falls Norskies to a 5-2 victory over the Fort Frances Lakers at Ice for Kids Arena.

It was all Norskies in the opening 20 minutes of the contest as they skated out to a 3-0 cushion on a power play marker courtesy of Alec Severson and a pair of even strength efforts off the stick of Piper.

Down a skater to begin the second, Tyler Johnson struck shorthanded early in the middle stanza to put the visitors up by four.

Isaac Baron’s eighth put the Lakers on the board at 5:11, but Piper completed his three-goal night at 11:46 as Thief River Falls carried a 5-1 lead into the third.

In that final frame, Brett Hahkala converted on a late man advantage chance for Fort Frances as he finished off a Nick Lucas feed with 3:23 left to round out the night’s scoring.

Blake Nelson chipped in with three assists for the Norskies while teammates Boe Bjorge and Jake Eischen had two helpers apiece.

Bailey Schmitz made 23 saves to record the win for Thief River Falls while Jacob Gnidziejko faced 33 shots in a losing cause for the Lakers.

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere