Withers, Lucas combo electric as Lakers avoid elimination

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – With their season on the line the Fort Frances Lakers received impressive efforts from forwards Adam Withers and Nick Lucas along with emergency replacement goaltender Brendan Mallon to help lead them to a 6-3 victory over the Fort Frances Lakers Thursday evening in Game 4 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League semifinal at Ice for Kids Arena.

The triumph gives Fort Frances their first win of the series as they now trail in the best-of-seven set 3-1 with Game 5 slated for Memorial Arena in Dryden Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.

The Lakers’ power play was clicking in the match-up as they struck four times on the man advantage to help send them on their way.

Withers started the home side off while his side was up a skater 6:09 into the contest.

Dryden got that back though with a power play goal of their own just moments before the first period was set to expire.

The GM Ice Dogs then took the lead early in the middle stanza only to see Fort Frances strike three times with the extra man as Withers, Jack Dunnell and Eric Pitkanen all beat Dryden starter Jacob Gnidziejko.

With Landon Pavlisin entering to begin the third for the visitors, he was promptly greeted by tallies from Ian Jarvis and Jaedin Ness to put them up 6-2 before the session was two and a half minutes in.

Evan Walls got one back shorthanded for Dryden, but that’s as close as they would get before time expired.

Mallon’s 43-save performance earned him the win.

Gnidziejko suffered the loss allowing four against while Pavlisin gave up two in relief as they faced a combined 29 shots in defeat.

All SIJHL postseason games are streamed live and on demand at HockeyTV.com.

SIJHL Playoffs

Series C
Semifinal series
No. 1 Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. No. 5 Fort Frances Lakers
Dryden leads best-of-seven series 3-1
Game 1: Dryden 7 Fort Frances 2
Game 2: Dryden 5 Fort Frances 2
Game 3: Dryden 7 Fort Frances 2
Game 4: Fort Frances 6 Dryden 3
Game 5: Sunday, April 8 @ Dryden 4 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
Game 6*: Monday, April 9 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. CT (Ice for Kids Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 11 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
*- if necessary

Photo credit: Jamie Mountain, Fort Frances Times