North Stars End Lumberjacks Season

By Tanner Schafer

Rice Lake, WI – Special teams proved to be the difference on Friday night in Rice Lake as the North Stars secured a sweep of the Lumberjacks in their 1st round playoff series.

The two teams played most of the 1st period to a standstill, it took over 16 minutes to find the game’s first goal and it went to Thunder Bay. On the power play Edison Weeks found the back of the net with assists going to Cameron Dial and Sam Skillestad. 

The North Stars would enter the 2nd period with the lead, but it would be short lived as Lumberjacks Captain Dillon Phillips scored 3 and half minutes in. He was assisted by Will McDonnel and Axel Wyatt. With the game tied it was again the man advantage coming through for the North Stars as another 3 minutes later Easton Mikus scored. Cameron Dial picked up the lone assist on the go-ahead tally. The intensity stayed high throughout but neither team could find a goal for the rest of the period and the game went to the 3rd with a 2-1 North Stars lead on the scoreboard. 

8 minutes into the final frame the game winner was found courtesy of EJ Paddington again on the powerplay. Thunder Bay would take a 3-goal lead late in the game thanks to the efforts of Eric Sheriff. Finally, with just over a minute to go Axel Wyatt would claw one back but it wouldn’t be enough to save the Lumberjacks season as they fell 4-2. 

Keenan Marks was difference maker in net for Thunder Bay as he made 37 saves on 39 shots and got the win. Veteran netminder Will Forrester made 35 saves in the loss for Wisconsin.

Special teams proved to be a problem too difficult for the Wisconsin coaching staff to solve all series as The Lumberjacks were 1/22 on the power play, a percentage of just 4.5. Meanwhile the North Stars were deadly with the man advantage having far less opportunity but firing at a 58.3% clip on 12 chances. Thunder Bay will move on to play the 2 seed Sioux Lookout who wrapped up a sweep of Fort Frances on Friday night.

1st Star – Keenan Marks, 37 saves

2nd Star – Dillon Phillips, 1 goal and 1 assist

3rd Star – Axel Wyatt, 1 goal and 1 assist