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Lakers drop pair to SIJHL leaders


There's something about the Thief River Falls Norskies that the Fort Frances Lakers just can't seem to figure out.

That was the story again over the weekend as the Lakers (6-16-1-1) dropped both games of a home-and-home series against the SIJHL leaders.

Mitchell Soderberg scored twice Saturday night to lead the Norskies (26-1-0-0) to a narrow 4-3 win at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls.

The Lakers actually opened the scoring first when Adam Withers netted his first while the team was short-handed with 1:05 left in the first period.

Soderberg notched his first of the game just 25 seconds into the second frame to knot things at 1-1.

After Blair Lindholm gave the Norskies the lead at 2:18, Parker Simonson made it 3-1 at 9:01 when he buried his league-leading 25th marker.

The Lakers climbed within a goal off the stick of Fort Frances native Noah Loveday at 10:14.

But Soderberg regained the two-goal cushion with 1:35 to go in the second while the Norskies were on a power play.

Nick Lucas trimmed it to 4-3 just 1:46 into the third but that was as close as the Lakers would get.

Bailey Schmitz earned the win in goal, making 28-of-31 stops.

Ismael Ralsten took the loss while also making 28 saves.

The Norskies went 1-for-3 with the man-advantage while the Lakers were skunked (0-for-2).

Friday night's game at the Ice For Kids Arena here was a little more lopsided for the Norskies, who used a three-goal first period to cruise to a 5-1 victory.

Lindholm got the visitors on the board just 1:47 into the game before Gregg Lee netted a pair at 8:01 and 12:16 to make it 3-0.

The Lakers got on the board with 8.7 seconds left in the opening frame when captain Julian Uhryniuk scored on a power play.

After a scoreless second period, Aslan Akervik made it 4-1 at 9:26 of the third.

Jared Pedersen capped the scoring at 14:19, firing home a feed on a power play.

Schmitz also got the win in Friday's game, making 31 saves, while Ralsten took the loss while also stopping 31.

The Lakers, who now have lost seven-straight games, remain in fifth place in the SIJHL with 14 points.

Thief River Falls occupy top spot (52).

The Dryden GM Ice Dogs (17-3-4-1) still sit in second place with 39 points while the Thunder Bay North Stars (16-7-3-0) are in third at 35.

The English River Miners (9-12-0-3) are fourth with 21 while the Minnesota Iron Rangers (2-21-1-2) still occupy the basement at just seven points.

The Lakers are back in action this Wednesday night when they visit the Ice Dogs.

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