The Fort Frances Lakers weren't quite able to build off the success of opening 2020 with a win last week.
After edging the Thief River Falls Norskies 4-3 on Thursday night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, it was a different story here on Saturday night as the Norskies prevailed by a 6-3 count at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The loss meant that the Lakers split their second straight home-and-home series against Thief River Falls and saw their record fall to 13-16-2.
Defenceman Connor Kalthoff scored twice to pace the fourth-place Norskies (16-11-2) to the road win on Saturday night.
The visitors came out quickly and skated out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes on tallies from Nick Harder and Kalthoff.
Fort Frances cut into the deficit with the only offensive effort in the second game when Flynn Perry converted on the power play at 11:05 to trim it to 2-1.
In the third, the Norskies saw Mason McIntosh knock in his 13th from the left side of the net early in the game to make it a two-goal cushion.
On a power play after that, Kalthoff ripped one in from the high slot at 7:07, which proved to be the eventual game-winner.
Battling back, however, the Lakers saw Kiernan Bailey convert on a man advantage of their own with six minutes left in regulation.
Matthieu Harrold's long-range attempt through a screen fooled Norskies' goalie Seth Purcilly at 16:23 to trim it to 4-3.
Fort Frances then pulled goalie Dean Bucholz twice for an extra attacker, but Thief River Falls sealed the road decision with empty net efforts from Jack Michels and Josh Olson, with his first SIJHL goal, to round out the scoring.
Purcilly made 37 saves to earn the win while Bucholz turned aside 30 shots in taking the loss.
On Thursday night, Stone Stelzl registered a three-point game to help the Lakers edge the Norskies in the opener at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
The Lakers opened the scoring just a couple of minutes into the game as local forward Ethan Carlson-Jourdain stuffed in his fifth goal of the season from the left side of the crease past Norskies' goalie Joshua Seeley.
Thief River Falls countered with the equalizer at 15:14 of the game when Tyler Johnson redirected an Olson point blast.
A frenzied second period saw the two clubs combine for five markers, including the first three from the Lakers.
After Tyler Malpass put the guests back on top at 2:07, Stelzl provided his first tally of the night.
Then with Fort Frances on the power play midway through the period, Stelzl sniped one from the right side as his low shot found its way into the bottom left corner to put his side up by three.
Answering back, however, the Norskies collected a pair of man advantage efforts in rapid succession to climb back into it.
Joe Collins' eighth of the campaign came at 14:56 before Tyler Johnson went high on Buchholz from the left faceoff circle a minute-and-a-half later to make it 4-3 after two periods of play.
However, the visitors tightened up defensively in the third to secure the narrow road victory.
Kyle Uzelman chipped in with two assists to help pace the Lakers' offence.
Buchholz made 28 saves to earn the win while Seeley turned aside 21 of 25 shots to suffer the loss.
The fifth-place Lakers next are in action this Friday (Jan. 10) when they host the third-place Dryden GM Ice Dogs (17-11-2) at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.