SIJHL Week 24 Review

By Gary Moskalyk 

Fort Frances 0 at Red Lake 6 Tuesday

Red Lake poured in five powerplay goals and outshot the Lakers 46-12 for a 6-0 win on home ice. The second goal of the game–Bradyn Rowsell’s tally at 15:39 of the first on a short breakaway, his 7th–was the only goal that wasn’t a powerplay goal. 

Former Laker Ryker Watt continued his hot hand, collecting two more for 18 on the year, both coming in a three-goal Miner first period. Rowsell struck again at 18:36 of the second to make it 5-0 at the time. Austin  Derzaph’s point shot through traffic beat Lakers goalie Jack Orchard on a Miners’ 5-on-3 for his second of the year for a 5-0 Miner lead.

Matthew Lysak got the lone third period, snapping home his second this season at 8:21.

Derzaph also had an assist, and Carter Deschamps, Blake Hiltermann and Jared Burnett chipped in with two assists each.

Noah Davis secured his 12th win with his first shutout of the campaign. Orchard stopped 40 of 46 in the loss.

A total of 64 penalty minutes were called, with the Lakers taking the lion’s share with 44. They paid the price, too. The Miners were 5-7 with the man advantage. The Miners killed off five Laker powerplays–a banner day for coach Lee Stone’s special teams. 

Dryden 3 at Thunder Bay 2 Friday

Dryden clinched fourth place with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Thunder Bay.

Adam Zimmerman clicked at 15:28 of the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie giving Dryden’s Christian Lynch his 8th consecutive win in eight starts.

EJ Paddington notched his 31st and Tyler Jordan got his 28th at 8:46 as the North Stars crafted a 2-0 lead in a 16-shot first period. 

Dryden fired 21 shots in the second frame and narrowed the score to 2-1. Max Roby garnered his 28th on a backhander from the blue paint after a bout of sustained pressure from the Ice Dogs, at 8:06. 

Tanner Skrypnyk got his first of the campaign, slipping one through Keenan Marks at 6:43 to knot the score at 6:43. Zimmerman’s game winner from the point went high over Marks’ shoulder through traffic for his 5th. 

Red Lake’s loss and Dryden’s win gives the Ice Dogs home ice advantage in the best-of-seven quarterfinals between the two clubs, starting Saturday/Sunday in Dryden.

Marks record fell to 18-9-2 with his 35 performance. Lynch raised his save percentage to .936. His miniscule 1.94 goals against actually rose incrementally. Both goalies put on a clinic, garnering second and third star status with Zimmerman claiming the number one selection.

Both penalty kills were perfect. Thunder Bay took 26 penalty minutes, inflated by a pair of misconducts late in the game. Seven minor penalties were called.

A fine crowd of 611 fans watched two SIJHL charter members battle. 

Dryden 2 at Thunder Bay 4 Saturday

Thunder Bay built a 4-0 lead, striking for three quick goals early in the second frame, to defeat Dryden 4-2 at Fort William Gardens. Ice issues shut down the third period completely before it even got started. The Ice Dogs had climbed to within two goals before the game was cut short.

Ben Laurette remained undefeated in regulation time with his 9th win in 10 starts win one OT loss, making 25 saves in the Stars’ net. Dryden’s Ewan Soutar fell to 14-9-1 making 28 stops. 

Thunder Bay will open at home against Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday. Dryden will entertain Red Lake on Saturday and Sunday. The first four games of the SIJHL playoffs were posted Sunday.

EJ Paddington opened the scoring at 17:04 of the first, his 32nd, with Dimitri Trahiotis garnering the lone assist for a 1-0 Thunder Bay lead.

Beau Helmeczi, Easton Glousher and Easton Mikus scored in quick succession for Thunder Bay beginning at 2:59 of the second. Helmeczi notched his 15th unassisted, bagging his own rebound. Just 57 seconds later Glousher netted his 5th of the year, sniping home a Trahiotis feed on Soutar’s doorstep on a Stars’ powerplay. Mikus one-timed a Connor Larrett pass at 4:57 for his 31st. Mikus led all SIJHL rookies in goals and points (60), finishing 6th in the scoring race.

Dryden responded with two goals to close out the period and were undoubtedly looking for a few more in the third. Stanislav Boiarchuk scored from the slot at 5:31 for his 6th, and Max Roby got his 29th on a wrist shot at 13:45 when Thunder Bay failed to clear the zone.

After the usual flood, a patch of poor ice opposite the players’ benches near the Zamboni doors rendered the game unplayable despite attempts to improve the situation.

Eight minor penalties were called, four for each team. Thunder Bay was 1-4 on the powerplay. Dryden was shut out in two chances.

Edison Weeks of Thunder Bay ended the season with 76 points to lead the scoring race. Soutar’s five shutouts led all goaltenders.

A total of 611 fans watched Saturday’s game–the same number as Friday’s tilt.

Red Lake 2 at Kam River 5 Friday

The Miners struck for two powerplay goals early in the game but Ryan Doucette scored three and Ashton Sadauskas picked up his 28th win as the Kam River Walleye toppled Red Lake 5-2 before 612 fans at Norwest Arena.

Matthew MacPherson banged in his 8th just 1:23 in, and Noah Tenney doubled the Miner lead with a rebound tally off a point shot by Blake Hiltermann at 4:07.

Doucette got his first of the game at 8:53 of the first with a one-timer high glove side on Red Lake’s Ethan Neitsch. 

Kam River pumped in three in the second. Easton Debray tied the contest at 2-2 with his 4th, going five-hole at 12:25. The Walleye took a 3-2 lead just 12 seconds later. Kaden Goodwin’s 21st of the year, a high snipe on a 2-on-1, made it 3-2. Doucette cashed in a rebound with 25 seconds left in the middle session to up the score to 4-2 for Kam River.

The teams stayed scoreless through 19 minutes of the third. Red Lake took a late too many men penalty at 18:29 to put a serious dent on any comeback plans. Neitsch was pulled for an extra attacker regardless. 

Doucette fired the puck through the uprights from his own side of centre ice to seal the deal at 19:07, an empty-netter and powerplay goal at the same time. Doucette ended the game with 22 goals on the year, closing out the regular season with a hat trick, an empty-netter, one at even strength, and two on the powerplay all in the same game.

Neitsch fell to 10-11-2 stopping 31 of 35. Sadauskas made 22 saves to go 28-3-0. No other goalie in the SIJHL has even 19 wins. Sadauskas also led the league in minutes with 1,863.

Debray had three points and Max Wright chipped in with two helpers. Tenney and MacPherson added assists for the Miners.

Both powerplays were 2-7. Fourteen minor penalties were called. 

Red Lake 3 at Kam River 5 Saturday

Travis VanderZwaag shunted aside 30 of 33 shots for 11th win, and five Walleye players scored a goal each as the Walleye won their 15th in a row with a 5-3 win over Red Lake before 715 fans at Norwest Arena.

Nathan Dann opened the scoring for Red Lake, going high glove side on VanderZwaag for his 19th. Dann has been out with injury since January 12th. He’ll be a welcome addition in the upcoming series against Dryden.

The Miners held a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes. Five goals were scored in the second frame, four by Kam River.

Matteo Salvatore scored on his own rebound on a breakaway to tie the game. Braeden Duchesne’s hard work paid off on his 17th goal, an unassisted effort at 5:37. Isiah Kinnavanthong’s shot trickled through Noah Davis’ pad for a 3-1 Walleye lead. Aiden Corbett’s 31st goal at 14:31 tightened the score to 3-2. Carter Nailen’s 9th, a breakaway goal after a long pass from Ryan Daponte at 16:00, restored Kam River’s two-goal lead going into the final period.

Ethan Cerone shoveled in a loose puck at 58 seconds to make it a one-goal game. VanderZwaag held his ground from there in a 15-shot Miner third period. Red Lake pulled Davis with 1:57 to go. The Walleye capitalized. Kaden Goodwin and Max Wright combined on a 2-1. Goodwin corralled the loose puck in the corner, and fed a pass to Wright who buried the disc at 18:47 for the insurance tally. 

The Miners took a minor penalty 10 seconds later to kill off the rest of game.

Nailen added one assist to his goal, as did Cerone for Red Lake. A total of 84 penalty minutes were called, but six 10-minute misconducts inflated the total. The Miners were 0-5 on the powerplay. Kam River, number one in powerplay efficiency, converted one of six. 

A boisterous crowd of 715 attended.

Fort Frances 6 at Wisconsin 5 Friday

Ian Snooks scored for the Lakers with three seconds left in regulation time, the final bullet in a 6-5 shoot-em-up before 205 fans at Rice Lake Hockey Arena.

Multiple lead changes added spice to a spirited, high-scoring affair. The Lakers led 1-0, Wisconsin went ahead 3-1, Fort took a 4-3 lead into the third, the Lumberjacks scored two to go ahead 5-4, before Brody Lindal’s powerplay tally at 12:27 and Snooks’ heartbreaker at 19:57 settled the score.

Jack Orchard improved his record to 5-19-3 with 30 saves for the Lakers. Riley Burnett turned aside 31 of 37 dropping to 3-7-1 in the Wisconsin cage. 

Clark Scaddan tapped in Lindal’s pass midway through the first to draw first blood on a Fort Frances’ powerplay. William McDonnel answered at 13:57, unleashing an old-time slapshot from the point for number five on the year. 

Nolan Fowler got the next two to start the second period, cashing in on a Laker turnover at 1:01 and converting a stretch pass at 6:29 for his 24th of the year for a 3-1 Wisconsin edge. Lindal, Remington Richardson and Emerson Evans–all Lakers–closed out the second period scoring for a 4-3 Lakers’ lead.

Jack Carruthers tied the game at 2:46 of the third, manoeuvering from his own blue-line to get one past Orchard for his 2nd of the season. Dillon Phillips won the draw and moments later buried a rebound to give the ‘Jacks a 5-4 lead. 

Lindal scored on a rebound, and Snooks counted with overtime looming, slamming home his 5th with the puck laying in the crease after a wild scramble.

Scaddan had a goal and three assists, Lindal two goals and a helper, and Brady Krentz had two assists for the Lakers. Fowler had two goals, Phillips had an assist in addition to his goal, and Koen Burkholder had two apples for Wisconsin.

The Lakers had three powerplay markers while Wisconsin was 0-4.

Fort Frances 5 at Wisconsin 4 (OT) Saturday

The Lakers swept Wisconsin at Rice Lake Hockey Arena with a 5-4 overtime win.

The Lumberjacks played with 14 skaters, with just four defencemen. The Lakers outshot Wisconsin 4-0 in the overtime session and 53-40 overall. Brady Krentz got his second of the game and 19th on the year, using a dangle and a shot from prime territory to secure the victory with 24 seconds left on the 3-on-3. 

Leads were exchanged several times throughout the contest, a repeat of Friday’s game. Koen Burkholder beat Lukas Toth high blocker side for his 9th at 6:16 for a 1-0 Wisconsin lead. Clark Scaddan squeezed one through the pads of William Forrester at 11:41 to tie it–his 20th of the year, unassisted and on a Laker powerplay.

Six goals were scored in the second, three by each team.

Krentz got his first goal of the game at 3:44 on a Laker powerplay with a wrist shot. Collin Baker and Dillon Phillips replied for Wisconsin, giving the home side a 3-2 edge. Baker scored his 18th on an assist from Jack Carruthers, and Phillips scored his 26th on a Wisconsin 5-on-3. 

Darnell Kempf tied it for Lakers, scoring his first of the year by walking in from the corner and beating Forrester at 13:28. Marshall Thomas put the ‘Jacks ahead 4-3 on another Carruthers pass at 16:47. Magnus Pearson knotted the score at 4-4 at 18:59, ripping home a blocker side shot for his 11th.

Toth and Forrester kept the game tied at 4-all through a scoreless third stanza. Krentz’ overtime goal gave Fort Frances their 12th win of the year.

The Lakers were 2-5 on the powerplay. Wisconsin connected on one of four chances. 

Eleven minor penalties were called, six to Wisconsin. Attendance was 189.

The seventh-place Lakers will open the playoffs against second-place Bombers in Sioux Lookout Friday and Saturday. Wisconsin takes on Thunder Bay Friday and Saturday at the Gardens.  

Sioux Lookout 9 at Kenora 3 Friday 

Sioux Lookout broke open a 1-0 game with five consecutive second period goals to defeat Kenora 9-3 at the Moncrief Construction Sports Centre. Owen Riffel was the offensive centrepiece, scoring three and assisting on two. His hat trick gives him 35 goals on the year, four up on his nearest rival.

Cobe Delaney notched his 11th of the season at 10:56 of the first, the only goal of the period.

The Bombers fired in five straight in a 9:27 span to put a stranglehold on the game. Riffle on the powerplay, Kaden Veller, Riffle with his second of the game, Blake Burke unassisted and Ty Love with his second of the year made the score 6-0.

John Paul Scaringi got his 8th at 17:30 to make it 6-1, but Trever Sanderson answered 15 seconds later with his 11th to re-establish the six-goal cushion. Lazarus Constant got his 3rd of the year for Kenora with 32 seconds left to cap off an eight-goal period.

Riffel scored his hat trick goal at 2:23 of the third for an 8-2 Bomber lead. Jarod Lemieux got his second of the year 14 seconds later for the Islanders. Connor Burke’s 27th at 13:38 finished off the scoring.

The Bombers were 1-3 on the powerplay. Kenora was 0-1. The Bombers took one minor penalty the entire game, while the Islanders were tagged with five minors. 

Matthew Spencer-Dahl stopped 13 of 16 for his 10th win of the year. Connor Dunham-Fox faced 42 shots in the Kenora net. 

Sioux Lookout 6 at Kenora 1 Saturday 

Cobe Delaney fired in three goals, Trever Sanderson registered four assists and Matthew Ofukany maintained his perfect season with his 6th win in six games as the Bombers defeated the Islanders 6-1 in Kenora. 

Connor Burke’s 28th opened the scoring for Sioux Lookout. Burke tipped Kaden Veller’s shot past Matthew Stephens at 2:25 of the initial period. Jayden McPherson-Nepinak’s wrap around on an Islander powerplay, his 8th, tied it at 5:02. Delaney got his first goal on a one-timer and Tait Howell’s point shot squeezed through for 13th on a Bomber man advantage for a 3-1 Bomber lead.

Delaney got the lone tally of the middle frame on a one-timer from the slot to make it 4-1.

The Bombers added two in the third. Delaney completed his hat trick at 2:40 giving him 14 on the year. Owen Riffel got his league-leading 36th goal on a powerplay rebound to wrap up the scoring.

Sioux Lookout was 2-6 on the powerplay while the Islanders were 1-3.

The Islanders were assessed 27 penalty minutes to Sioux Lookout’s 11. The Islanders led the SIJHL with 1,247 PIMs while the Bombers finished with the fewest, 721.