Thunder Bay Outlasts Fort Frances

By Gary Moskalyk

Thunder Bay, ON – Edison Weeks scored at 14:19 of the third and the North Stars hung on to defeat the Fort Frances Lakers 5-4 before 478 fans on a Sunday afternoon tilt at the Fort William Gardens. It was Thunder Bay’s second 5-4 verdict over the Lakers in three days, this one coming in regulation.

The win enabled the Stars to slip past Sioux Lookout into a tie with first place with Kam River–for a few hours at least. The Walleye had a home tilt Sunday night against the Islanders.

Brady Krentz opened the scoring for Fort Frances, deflecting Caige Starr’s point shot at 1:07 of the first period to draw first blood. Beau Helmeczi scored one from behind the Lakers’ net, banking the puck off goaltender Gunner Paradis 1:19 later to tie it up. A total of five of the remaining seven goals were scored on the powerplay, with Fort Frances netting three of them.

Easton Mikus got his 30th for Thunder Bay, cashing in a rebound at 11:16 with the Stars up a man. Brody Lindal beat Ben Laurette on a rebound chance at 17:10 to knot the score at 2-2 on a Fort Frances powerplay to close out the first period scoring. 

Thunder Bay and Fort Frances exchanged second period goals. Sam Skillestad’s wrister from the point eluded a screened Paradis for a 3-2 North Stars lead at 2:33. Pierce Gouin was credited with tying the game at 16:23, although Brady Krentz led the celebratory fly-by, on a Lakers power play.

Thunder Bay scored two of the three third period goals. Alex Remenda struck with just 23 seconds gone, picking up a loose puck off a blocked shot and parking his drive under the crossbar for a 4-3 Thunder Bay lead. Former North Star Magnus Pearson one-timed Brody Lindal’s pass past Laurette to tie the game at 4-4 midway through the third for his 8th–the Lakers third powerplay tally.

Weeks deflected home EJ Paddington’s shot from close in on a Stars’ power play with under six minutes left for his 27th to win the game. Paradis was pulled for an extra attacker with 1:20 left but Thunder Bay was able to stifle any comeback attempt for the tight win.

Skillestad had a goal and two assists, Paddington had three helpers and Cameron Dial dished off a pair of assists to lead the Stars offensively. Krentz finished with a goal and assist, officially, for Fort Frances. Lindal had a goal and two assists, Caige Starr had three assists, and Clark Scaddan two assists to lead the Lakers attack.

Thunder Bay outshot Fort Frances 41-24. Laurette stopped 20 of 24 for his 8th win in nine starts. Thunder Bay native Paradis was good on 36 of 41, dropping his record to 2-3-1.

Neither team’s penalty kill was effective. Fort Frances scored on three of four power play opportunities, while Thunder Bay cashed in on two of four chances. Easton Glousher of Thunder Bay and Kyle Garland of the Lakers dropped the gloves in the third, contributing 14 penalty minutes to the 36 minutes handed out by referees Adam Blando and Edward Jung.