By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – E.J. Paddington scored with 18 seconds left in overtime as the Thunder Bay North Stars defeated the Wisconsin Lumberjacks 2-1 at Fort William Gardens. Thunder Bay’s Conner Lemieux stopped 39 of 40 to garner his 7th win of the year.
Wisconsin’s Kyler Lowden snagged third star honours with his 38-save effort before 261 fans.
Ryder McMillen opened the scoring at 4:10 of the first for Wisconsin, ringing a shot off the left post and in for his 18th of the season.
The second period was scoreless.
The North Stars were able to keep the zone on a clearing pass and Nolan Desjardins notched his 5th on a rebound to tie the game at 12:47 of the third.
Wisconsin managed four shots in overtime, but it was Paddington collecting a rebound in the blue paint and burying his 6th on assists from R.J. Dickie and Carter Anton to set off the hometown celebration.
Thunder Bay used four affiliated players–Evan Lachimea, Carter Poddubny, Eric Sheriff and Jared Lemieux (Conner’s brother) to cover injuries and two one-game suspensions.
The Stars also obtained Nikolas Campbell from the Amarillo Wranglers of the NAHL. Campbell was pretty much a point a game player with the Stars two years ago. Campbell was on I-35 driving home from Texas during the game.
Red Lake’s win over Dryden keeps the Stars in fifth place for now.