Bugeja comes up big in backstopping Lakers over Lumberjacks

SPOONER, Wis. – The Fort Frances Lakers rode a stellar 62-save performance from goaltender Alex Bugeja who backstopped his club to a 3-1 victory over the Wisconsin Lumberjacks Wednesday evening in Superior International Junior Hockey League play at the Spooner Civic Center.

Despite getting out shot 18-12 in the first period, it was Fort Frances who picked up their three tallies in quick order, connecting in just over a four-minute span, to gain the upper hand.

Noah Loveday started the Lakers off at 8:38 as he stuffed one under Wisconsin starter Nathan Mueller from the top of the crease.

He then struck again 22 seconds later after taking a feed from the corner into the slot and whipped one into the top right hand corner to put the visitors up by a pair.

The guests then got a fortunate break to go up by three when MacKenzie Flett snapped an attempt toward the net from the right point that clipped off a Lumberjacks defender and sailed high past the Wisconsin goalkeeper.

From there the Lumberjacks continued to pump shots on Bugeja, but could not solve him until the late going of regulation.

Then with a power play deep into the third period and Mueller out for an additional attacker, the home side dashed the shutout bid after with 1:11 remaining when Joel Matthews snagged the puck off a Fort Frances backhanded clearing attempt and fed Cade Moreland who came in a wired a shot into the top left portion of the net to put Wisconsin on the board.

The hosts pulled Mueller a couple more times after that, but would get no closer before time expired.

Flynn Perry assisted on all three Lakers’ tallies while Jack Lane had a couple and Loveday picked up a helper of his own to go with his goals for a three-point night.

Mueller faced 34 attempts in defeat for the Lumberjacks.

Photo credit: Karina Schafer