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Lakers drop pair to SIJHL leaders

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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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