SIJHL Week 20 Review

By Gary Moskalyk

Sioux Lookout 1 @ Thunder Bay 2 (OT), Mon Feb 13 

Matt Halushak scored with 21 seconds left in overtime and Conner Lemieux stopped 44 for his 12th win as the Thunder Bay North Stars defeated Sioux Lookout 2-1 before a Gardens crowd of 290.  

Nikolas Campbell made a perfect feed and Halushak beat Jake Manners for his 9th of the campaign. The win, Thunder Bay’s third in a row, places them two points behind the Bombers, and three ahead of Red Lake as the teams jockey in the SIJHL standings.

Dylan Winsor scored on his first shift back from injury, collecting his own rebound for his 10th at 1:43 of the first. Ty Bahm flubbed his original shot, fooling everyone, but corralled the disk and found the open cage at 40 seconds of the third to tie the contest.

A second period fight briefly interrupted a cleanly played hockey game that had four minor penalties otherwise. The Bombers were 0-3 with the man advantage while Thunder Bay was held off the board in their only chance.

Jake Manners stopped 36 of 38 and saw his numbers improve despite the OT setback. Lemieux’ SV% advanced to .929 on the year. 

Fort Frances 2 @ Dryden 5, Wed Feb 15

Dryden rumbled out to a 4-0 first period lead and fired 50 shots at Brenden Stroble, but the Lakers still managed to make a game of it. Max Roby scored a pair and added an assist, and Ben Hackl had one goal and two assists as the Ice Dogs triumphed 5-2 in Dryden. 

Hackl, Bryce Benfield, Roby and Easton Debray scored even strength goals for Dryden in a 20-shot first period.  

Brady Krentz got the Lakers on the board at 18:11 scoring on Zac MacDonald’s doorstep. Branden Hill went blocker side at 5:16 of the third to make it 4-2. Roby missed on a penalty shot attempt at 2:55 of the third.

Roby atoned with his 17th at 16:30 of the final frame to put the game out of reach.

MacDonald won his 10th game with a 15-save effort. Stroble dropped to 4-18-0 in the Lakers net.

Elijah Pool and James Hooton had two assists each for Dryden. The Lakers were 1-4 on the powerplay, Dryden was 0-2 in a game that lasted 1:59. Eight minor penalties were called. 

Wisconsin 4 @ Thunder Bay 3, Wed Feb 15

Thunder Bay let 2-0 and 3-2 leads slip away as the Lumberjacks defeated the North Stars 4-3. 

Colby Feist had a breakaway backhander marker at 28 seconds of the first to open the scoring. Dylan Winsor finished off a Mason Wesley pass for his 11th at 7:57 for the 2-0 North Stars lead.

Connor McClure and Drake Flynn would counter for Wisconsin in the second to tie the game. McClure scored his 10th on a rebound and Drake Flynn registered his 4th cashing in on his own rebound on a Wisconsin powerplay.

Thunder Bay scored first in the decisive third period but Wisconsin scored the last two to snatch the win.

Feist appeared to have his second goal, batting a high puck at the Wisconsin net. Wisconsin’s Ryan Kayser inadvertently swatted the puck past Kyler Lowden, but the goal was waved off to keep the score tied. 

Nikolas Campbell untied it seconds later, sniping his 11th blocker side at 8:47 on a powerplay as Thunder Bay retook the lead. Cooper McClure’s long shot from the blue-line handcuffed Keenan Marks and fluttered in for his 5th. Dillon Phillips’ five-hole backhander eluded Marks for the game winner. 

Wisconsin killed off a couple of minor penalties and Marks was pulled for 2:19 but no avail. 

Flynn had a goal and two assists, and Zach Carson and Dylan Olsen had two assists each for Wisconsin. Campbell added an assist for Thunder Bay.

Lowden upped his record to 10-12-5 for Wisconsin, while Marks dropped to 8-4-1.

Both teams were called for three minor penalties, and were 1-3 with the man advantage.

Dryden 5 @ Red Lake 4, Fri Feb 17

The visiting Dryden Ice Dogs scored four powerplay goals and needed them all as they defeated the Red Lake Miners 5-4. 

Dryden built a 5-1 lead and saw the Miners surge to within a goal in the last six minutes.

Easton Debray opened the scoring at 7:26 with a blue-line wrister past Miners’ goaltender Jack Osmond for Dryden’s first powerplay marker.

The SIJHL’s leading sniper Jacob Lamoureux tied it up at 4:25 of the second. He stormed in from the right wing, got off three shots in a second or so, finally stuffing home his second rebound for his 27th. It was all Dryden for the rest of the period as the Ice Dogs peppered Osmond with 21 shots. 

Tyler Earl’s even-strength effort at 5:57, Landen Stromme’s 20th, and McLaren Paulsen’s late strike at 19:21 gave the Dogs a 4-1 lead heading into the final 20.

Jordan Pfoh’s one-timer at 27 seconds of the third gave Dryden a 5-1 edge. The Miners began picking away at 14:05 of the third. Matthew MacPherson scored from in close, Riley See went low glove side on Dryden’s Eric Clark, and Colton Crysler scored at 18:28 to narrow the score.

The Miners took a late penalty putting a crimp on any late dramatics. Clark stopped 27 of 31 for Dryden. Osmond made 35 saves.

Stromme added a pair of assists for three points. Earl, Pfoh, Paulsen and Debray all picked up assists. James Hooton and Brady Frattinger chipped in with a pair of helpers each. 

MacPherson and Lamoureux added assists, and Dayvan Bull had two apples for Red Lake.

A pair of fights and plenty of rough play dominated the third period. A total of 79 penalty minutes were called.

Wisconsin 2 @ Kam River 3, Sat Feb 18: Wisconsin 3 @ Kam River 1, Sun Feb 19

Jack Cook scored two of three Kam River’s second period goals as the Walleye defeated the visiting Lumberjacks 3-2 with 769 patrons looking on at Norwest Arena. 

Dillon Phillips opened the scoring at 4:24, tipping Dylan Jouppi’s point shot for his 16th for a 1-0 Wisconsin lead. 

Kam River fired 19 shots in a dominant second stanza. Cook got them on the board at 3:33, grabbing a loose puck in the Lumberjacks’ zone and wristing it home for his 17th. Jeremy Dunmore’s high blocker snipe 26 seconds later put the Walleye up 2-1. Dunmore is on a 14-game point streak. Cook’s second of the period on a Kam River powerplay–his 18th–was pretty much a carbon copy of his first.

Caden Sutter drew Wisconsin close with a third period tip in at 5:15 to close out the scoring.

Jack Orchard won his 9th and improved his goals against average to 2.31, stopping 35 shots. Kyler Lowden turned aside 36 of 39.

Josh Pufahl had two assists for Kam River.

Wisconsin’s Conner McClure scored two in Sunday’s game, and Kyler Lowden stopped 26 of 27 as the Lumberjacks prevailed 3-1 at Norwest Arena. The Lumberjacks outshot the Walleye 41-27.

McClure counted his 10th at 1:24 of the first, converting Zach Carson’s perfect pass. Cooper McClure got the secondary assist. Josh Pufahl tied it up on a Walleye powerplay at 7:25 on assists from Euan Morrison and Ryan Doucette.

After a scoreless second the McClure brothers cashed again. Connor McClure collected a rebound off Cooper’s shot to give Wisconsin the lead at 8:03. Zach Carson’s long bomb deep in his own zone found the empty cage as ‘Jacks scored the insurance marker with 49 seconds left to snap the Fighting Walleye nine-game winning streak.

Lowden recorded win number 11. Eric Vanska shunted aside 38 of 40 shots in a losing cause. Kam River was 1-4 with the man advantage while Wisconsin was 0-7.

A crowd of 524 watched their Walleye fall at home for just the fourth time this season. 

Dryden 5 @ Sioux Lookout 0, Sat Feb 18

Dryden’s powerplay stayed hot, notching three, and Eric Clark stopped 26 shots for 20th win and third shutout as the Ice Dogs won their third in a row with a decisive 5-0 victory in Sioux Lookout.

Brady Frattinger notched a pair, joining teammates Landen Stromme and James Hooton in the SIJHL 20-goal club. 

Stromme scored his powerplay marker at 15:02 of the first. 

The Ice Dogs broke it open in the second.

Frattinger, Bryce Benfield and Hooton with his 23rd at 19:47, gave the Ice Dogs a 4-0 cushion.

Tempers flared, to put it gently, at 6:13 of third. Two fights broke out. Sixty-six penalty minutes were meted out in the final 20. Frattinger scored his 20th with Ben Hackl collecting his 20th assist and Max Roby his 14th at 11:05 on a Dryden powerplay. 

Jake Manners shouldered the loss dropping to 18-11-2. Both teams had 26 shots.

Dryden’s powerplay improved to 24.4% with its recent spate of success with the man advantage.

Benfield added an assist, and Roby and Hackl had two assists for Dryden.    

The Bombers attracted 511 fans. 

Thunder Bay 2 @ Fort Frances 1, Sat Feb 18: Thunder Bay 4 @ Fort Frances 3, Feb 19

In Saturday’s game, Colby Feist scored two second period powerplay goals and Keenan Marks saved 30 as Thunder Bay defeated Fort Frances 2-1.

After a scoreless first Feist collected his 10th on a feed from Carter Anton at 6:54. His one-timer from the slot eluded starter Lakers starter Brenden Stroble. With 50 seconds left in the period, Feist buried Edison Weeks’ pass for a replay of his first goal, one-timer from the slot, to up the Stars lead to two-zip.

Blake Ferris broke Marks’ shutout bid at 15:08 of third, going bar down for his second of the campaign. He skated out to the slot area and wired it home.

The Lakers were able to pull Stroble for an extra attacker with 1:04 left, and Anton threw a little gas on the fire by drawing a Stars penalty at 19:27. Marks was able to hold the fort from there as the Stars climbed into third place tie with Sioux Lookout.

In Sunday’s contest Fort Frances had 2-0 and 3-2 leads but Dimitri Trahiotis scored late in the third as Thunder Bay completed a two-game sweep and took over third place in the SIJHL with a 4-3 win over the Lakers. 

Branden Hill and Darrnell Kempf provided the first period offence as the Lakers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Edison Weeks 19th goal blocker side with 29 ticks left in the first frame cut the lead in half.

Dylan Winsor’s powerplay re-direct tied it up at 8:31 of the second. Blake Ferris’ dangle and glove side shot gave Fort a 3-2 lead, but Weeks with his 20th 31 seconds later knotted the score at three-all.

Trahiotis finished on a Colby Feist pass with 1:28 left to go to provide the winning margin. Thunder Bay drew a late minor but winning goaltender Keenan Marks shut the door from there. Marks made 34 saves for his 9th win.

Brenden Stroble had another busy night in the Fort Frances net, facing 52 shots.

Weeks’ two goals made him the only player on either side to bag more than a point.

Thunder Bay was 1-3 on the powerplay. The Lakers were 1-4. Eleven minor penalties were called.