Wisconsin defeats Fort Frances in OT for 1st SIJHL victory

FORT FRANCES, Ont. – A Kayle Bocken beauty 20 seconds into overtime lifted the Wisconsin Lumberjacks to their first-ever Superior International Junior Hockey League victory as they defeated the Fort Frances Lakers 6-5 Friday evening at Ice for Kids Arena.

Wisconsin came out fast, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead on markers from Cade Moreland, Joel Matthews and Ryan Green.

Fort Frances did get one back before the first period was complete with Noah Loveday knocking in his six at 18:24.

The Lumberjacks came out quickly in the second to go up 4-1 a minute and half into the second stanza as Tyler Shetland flew down the ice and roofed one for his opening SIJHL marker.

Later in the frame, the Lakers got two back off the stick of Ben Hoefler, including a splendid skate-to-stick effort and one with a quick in and out move, to make it a 4-3 game.

Skating four-on-four, Wisconsin countered that with Shetland securing his second of the evening a couple shifts later.

Back and forth they went with Stone Stelzl forcing a turnover in his own zone before skating up the lift side before cutting in and snapping one high and in.

He then helped force extra time midway through the third as his second of the evening came during a goal-mouth scramble that saw Tyler Malpass and Hoeffler picking up assists on the play.

Skating three-on-three in overtime through, Dalton Garcia collected his second helper on the night as he got the puck back to Bocken, who darted up through two Fort Frances defenders into the low slot and lifted a back hand high into the top right-hand corner to secure win No. 1 for the Lumberjacks.

Nathan Mueller made 34 saves to register his club’s initial league win.

Dylan Kosik started for Fort Frances and allowed three on 15 attempts while Alex Bugeja, who entered to begin the second, suffered the loss making 24 saves in relief.

The same two teams meet again Saturday as they finish off a home-and-home at the Spooner Civic Center in a 7:45 p.m. start.

Photo credit: Clint Bruyere