FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Jacob Brown’s 11 goal of the season, coming with 10 seconds remaining in the first period, proved to be the game-winner as the Thunder Bay North Stars went on to defeat the Fort Frances Lakers 5-1 in Superior International Junior Hockey League play Friday at Ice for Kids Arena.
A unfortunate bounce off an official’s skate on a clearing attempt went right to Thunder Bay’s Jayden Mrakic in the slot as he fired in his second of the season, just over six minutes into the contest.
Brown then put the North Stars up by a pair late the first after skating out of his own zone, he cut in and saw his low attempt found its way between the post and right pad of Lakers’ starter Alex Bugeja.
In the second, the visitors extended their lead moments into a man advantage opportunity as Robert Tyska’s sharp cross-ice pass found Cody Bruchkowski waiting for a one-timer in the left circle as he notched his league-leading 12th of the campaign.
Joel Willan then went top shelf on Bugeja from the right wing at 8:25 to make it 4-0 Thunder Bay.
Sporting Pink the Rink jerseys, Fort Frances got on the board before the middle session was complete when Flynn Perry’s seventh of the season completed the set-up from teammates Jack Lane and Noah Loveday.
In the third, the North Stars rounded out the scoring off a late dump in from Kyler Belluz that the Lakers netminder could not control, allowing the puck to find a waiting Ben Erwin, who buried his sixth into the open side to finish things off.
Thunder Bay also held a 42-27 edge in shots with Jordan Smith picking up the win while Bugeja suffered the loss.
The same two sides finish off a home-and-home Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. start at the Fort William Gardens in the Lakehead.
Photo credit: Clint Bruyere