The Fort Frances Lakers had a good Christian soldier on their side Saturday night, then got another batch of gifts from St. Nick just 24 hours later.
Nick Minerva netted an empty-net goal and added two assists to pace the Lakers to a 4-1 win over the English River Miners yesterday in Ear Falls.
Minerva has points in all five Lakers’ games this month, garnering 13 over that stretch.
Not only is he the top-scoring defenceman in the SIJHL but his 33 points has him tied for second in overall league scoring with Landon Matechuk (English River), one point back of Laker teammate Dylan Robertson (34).
Fort Frances was outshot 39-30 by the Miners but got 38 saves from Brandon Bodnar to run the team’s current winning streak to five games.
The victory also moved the Lakers (22-3-0-1) six points up on the second-place Dryden GM Ice Dogs (18-6-1-2) while also holding a game in hand.
Julian Uhryniuk, Jason Wilson (his first as a Laker), and Dylan Kooner also beat losing goalie Reid Kilburn.
Trevor Pereverzoff had the lone goal for the Miners (7-15-1-4), who now have lost seven-straight to sit in the SIJHL basement—one point behind the fourth-place Minnesota Iron Rangers (9-15-2).
Meanwhile, Christian Ripley displayed some timely
production with two third-period goals to break a 2-2 tie en route to a 5-2 victory over the Iron Rangers here Saturday.
Ripley shed his checker and tapped in Kooner’s feed from the corner at 9:42 of the third to put the Lakers ahead.
Then he added an empty-netter with 53 seconds to go, followed by Robbie Bonthron sending a 150-footer into the empty cage with 10 left to cap the scoring.
Cole Tymkin and Minerva had power-play goals for the Lakers, with Pierce Dushenko turning in a 43-save performance to earn the win.
Eric Madison and Jake Ellingson replied for the Iron Rangers, which now have lost seven-of-eight to the Lakers this season.
The Lakers next head to Thunder Bay on Wednesday to face the third-place North Stars (10-14-0-2), who have been responsible for three of the Lakers’ four defeats this season.
That includes a 3-0 shutout in their last encounter here back on Nov. 28.
The Lakers then will host Minnesota again this Saturday (Dec. 19) in their last game before the league’s Christmas break.