October 21, 2022
The SIJHL Annual Showcase opened up in Superior Wisconsin with a trio of games on Friday.
1:00pm Fort Frances Lakers (1) vs. Sioux Lookout Bombers (4)
It was a seventy-second span just as the first period passed the half-way mark that proved to be the undoing of the Fort Frances Lakers as they surrendered three goals in rapid succession that ultimately was the margin of victory in the opening game of the 2022 SIJHL Showcase vs. Sioux Lookout.
After a fairly even opening half, Sioux Lookout’s brother-acts took all the air out of the Lakers’ sails when Connor Burke broke the scoreless tie by converting a nice feed from Aiden Parker.
Twenty seconds later, Burke returned the favour, earning the primary assist on a goal this time by Parker. Connor’s brother Blake assisted as well.
The flurry – and the first period scoring – wrapped up with the third tally, this time fifty seconds later, with Phil Parker (Aiden’s brother) assisting on Tegan Neuman’s first of the season.
In addition to the 3-0 lead, the Bombers also had a 13-7 edge in shots on goal in the frame.
The Lakers did seem to find their groove in the final two stanzas settled down in the second and skated their way to a 21-12 advantage in shots, but couldn’t convert it into any meaningful progress on the scoreboard.
The Fort Frances side did manage to draw within two courtesy of Clark Scaddan’s third of the season with a helper from Ian Snooks at 13:18 of the middle period to cut the deficit to two, but that was as close as they would get.
Sioux Lookout would restore the three-goal lead and close out the scoring just past the midway mark of the third off the stick of Tyler Decoff, with Phil Parker chipping in his second assist of the night.
The Parker brothers bookended the game’s three-stars selection. Aiden being named the first star, and Parker the third. Scaddan’s efforts got him the second star of the game.
Sioux Lookout will try to make it two-for-two on the weekend Saturday, 1:00pm vs. Thunder Bay. Fort Frances will take on Kam River at 4:00pm Saturday.
4:00pm Kam River Fighting Walleye (3) vs. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (6)
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs’ rebound from a shaky start to the season continued with a spirited effort against the league-leading Kam River Fighting Walleye.
The Ice Dogs extended their current league-best winning streak to 6 and separated themselves from the idle Red Lake Miners to take sole possession of second place in the league standings, making their 0-3 start to the season a distant memory.
It was the Fish, though, that came out of the gate flying, needing all of 22 seconds to force the second face-off at centre ice of the game. Anthony Oviedo was on the doorstep to redirect a perfect feed from Carson Gorst past Ice Dog’s netminder Eric Clark. Jack Cook also drew an assist on the nifty play.
They followed that up with a shorthanded marker off the stick of Mackenzie Sedgwick to extend the lead to 2-0 at 11:53 of the opening period. Ethan Lang drew the only assist on the play.
The two-goal advantage didn’t last long, as the Ice Dogs converted on the remaining power play opportunity just 31 seconds later to get the deficit back to one. Landen Stromme – his first of two on the afternoon – righted the Dogs and kept the game from getting away from them early, with some help from Jordan Phoh and Bryce Benfield.
Shots were 13-8 in favour of the Kam River side.
The second, however, was all Ice Dogs.
They needed exactly 7 minutes in the middle part of the period to chase Kam River starter Eric Vanska from the net, and leave their opponent scratching their heads.
It was an unanswered four goal outburst over that span kicked off by James Hooton at 6:31 and finished off by Ryland Maier at 13:31 that turned the 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead. In that time, the newly acquired Max Roby made an immediate impact with his first in as many games, and Stromme added his second of the night.
To fuel the flurry, Benfield added two more assists, helping on the final two tallies. Josh Green, Phoh’s second of the night, Ben Hackl, Easton Debray and Rhys Maksimow also showed up at the party.
The Ice Dogs also outshot the Fighting Walleye 12-9 in the process.
Jeremy Dunmore moved the Fish to within two and reasonable striking distance early in the third (assists to Sedgwick and Cook), but Kam River couldn’t follow it up with anything of significance. Hooton added his second of the afternoon – unassisted – into the empty net in the dying seconds of the game.
Final shots were 36-27 in favour of the Walleye, who went 0-4 on the power play. The Ice Dogs were 2-3.
Stromme earned the game’s first star, Kam River’s Sedgwick the second, and Ice Dogs’ goaltender Clark the third.
Kam River will face off against Fort Frances tomorrow afternoon at 4:00pm as each team tries to salvage a win from the weekend.
Dryden will see action against the host University of Wisconsin-Superior’s ACHA Division 2 team in an exhibition matchup Saturday evening at 7:00pm.
7:00pm Thunder Bay North Stars (4) vs. Wisconsin Lumberjacks (3)
The finale from Day 1 of the 2022 Showcase was a tale of ‘couldn’ts’ for the Wisconsin Lumberjacks.
They couldn’t keep themselves out of the box in the latter half of the game, couldn’t keep the Thunder Bay North Stars off the scoresheet when they were a man down, and ultimately couldn’t covert a two-goal lead after two periods into any points in the SIJHL standings.
On the flip side, the North Stars turned in what may be one of their gutsiest performances in recent memory.
Undermanned and with several players in the lineup trying to shake off a nagging bug that’s infiltrated their squad, and trailing 3-1 to start the third, there were plenty of reasons to suspect it might not be their night. Problem is, somebody forgot to tell them.
Like the pro wrestler who’s limp arm was lifted twice off the canvas by the referee to test the fight left in them, the Lumberjacks appeared to have the North Stars firmly on the mat. The arm needed only fall a third time and the match would be over.
Instead, the North Stars’ arm stiffened – courtesy a power play awarded them at 6:23 of the third – and, true to script, from parts unknown they summoned up the energy to cue the comeback.
It was the North Stars’ fourth straight win. Wisconsin is winless in regulation in as many, one goal defeats in each of their last three.
Wisconsin’s Zach Johnson, his first of two on the night, would be the only entry on the scoresheet in the first period. The effort was assisted by Ryan Kayser and Dylan Olsen.
Thunder Bay might have felt lucky to escape the first only down by one, having been outshot 11- 4 and having had to kill off the period’s only three penalties.
The second period was more of the same, with the Lumberjacks continuing to dominate the shots category – this time 15-7. Their lead was extended to two on Johnson’s second of the night and one from Ryder McMillen after Thunder Bay’s Hayden Cattani tied the game at one 5 minutes into the period.
During the frame, Thunder Bay killed off their fourth consecutive penalty before Wisconsin had made their first of what would be five trips in a row to the box in the latter half of the game.
The aforementioned chink in Wisconsin’s armour came when Neil Pretourious was flagged for a hook at 6:23 of the third. It took Thunder Bay’s Matthew Halushak all of six seconds on the ensuing face-off to close the gap to 3-2, and the comeback was on. Dylan Winsor – who would pot the eventual game winner – and Jonah Desrosiers assisted.
Wisconsin would not emerge from their next trip to the box with the lead, surrendering the tying goal at 13:22 of the third. This time, North Stars’ newcomer Colby Feist would do the damage, from Edison Weeks and Bobby Doukov.
The Lumberjacks would put the North Stars on the power play twice more in the final 6 1/2 minutes, managing to kill off a Brandon MacDonald roughing call before giving up the Winsor dagger with Salvatore Poggiali off for interference. The winning goal was assisted by Hayden Cattani
Thunder Bay outshot Wisconsin 18-8 in the final period. Wisconsin finished 0/4 on the power play. Thunder Bay was 3/5.
North Stars’ netminder Connor Lemieux and forward Colby Feist was named the first star of the game, Wisconsin’s Zach Johnson second.
Thunder Bay has a quick turnaround facing Sioux Lookout at 1:00pm tomorrow. Wisconsin has no more games scheduled in the showcase.