North Stars hold off late Lumberjacks surge for narrow home ice triumph

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Thunder Bay North Stars built up a four-goal lead then needed to withstand a comeback bid before eventually prevailing 4-3 in Superior International Junior Hockey League play Thursday evening at the Fort William Gardens.

After falling to the Lumberjacks on the road Sunday, the North Stars came out quickly on this night as Cody Bruchkowski buried his league-leading 48th of the season in the first minute of the contest as he buried a Jacob Brown cross-crease feed from in close.

Thunder Bay tacked on another at 7:24 as captain Logan Mihalcin lofted one from the left point that sailed through a crowd and in.

Coming right back, Nikolas Campbell added another for the hosts 33 seconds later to put his side up by three after one period of play.

In the middle stanza, Campbell bagged his second of the evening, lifting one over a sprawled Hunter Adams in the Wisconsin net, who had entered the contest following the third Thunder Bay tally.

Going to the power play, the Lumberjacks got on the board as Tyler Shetland snapped in his ninth from the high slot to give his side a lift.

Not done there, Wisconsin added another before the middle frame was complete as Joel Matthews finished off his 10th at 12:20.

In the third, the Lumberjacks battled back to within one with 6:06 to as Shetland sniped his second of the night, which came via the man advantage.

However, the North Stars withstood a late push by Wisconsin to secure an equalizer and held on for the narrow home ice victory.

Shots on goal finished up 39-33 in favour of the guests with Seth McKay picking up the win while Adams suffered the defeat.

Photo credit: Leith Dunick,