SPOONER, Wis. – Jack Michels’ 30th goal of the season, coming in the final minute of regulation, was the decider as the Thief River Falls Norskies outlasted the Wisconsin Lumberjacks 7-6 Friday in a high-scoring Superior International Junior Hockey League affair at the Spooner Civic Center.
Both teams came out firing in the first frame, getting three tallies apiece, to start their offensive output.
Cory Checco and Tyler Kiley-Ram at even strength, along with Tyler Johnson, on the power play, connected for Thief River Falls in the session while Nicholas Solema, with a pair, and Kayle Bocken countered for Wisconsin.
Five more markers were provided in the middle stanza, including three by the Norskies.
Michels put the hosts on front early in the frame before Tyler Hunt jammed in the equalizer for the Lumberjacks at 5:45.
Back and forth they went with Cameron Birkeland of the hosts and Isaac Baron for the guests trading goals a half minute apart.
Breaking into the zone while up a skater, Tyler Johnson neatly redirected a Cory Checco feed to put Thief River Falls up 6-5 after 40 minutes.
Wisconsin battled back to tie it once more midway through the third thanks to Tyler Shetland stuffing in his 12th from the top of the crease.
Then with overtime looming, the Norskies’ Michels took a Johnson pass, skated in on the right side as buried the game-winner with 47 seconds left on the clock.
Shots on net finished up 49-29 in favour of TRF with Caleb Sauer getting the win while Hunter Adams suffered the defeat.
The two teams will meet again Saturday in a 7:45 p.m. start back in Spooner.
Photo credit: Karina Schafer