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Pair of Lakers commit to school

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The Fort Frances Lakers' tradition of advancing players to the next level has been at the forefront recently.

Often the best player on the ice last season, the Lakers announced Monday that goalie Jacob Gnidziejko has committed to Portage College in Alberta where he will suit up for the Voyageurs' hockey team in the ACAC this fall.

“Jacob was very instrumental to our team last year on and off the ice,” Lakers' head coach/general manager Wayne Strachan said in a press release.

"He is a player that comes prepared daily and works hard to improve. Down the stretch into the playoffs he was our most consistent player.

“He will do very well in Portage and we wish him the best of luck in school and on the ice,” he added.

Gnidziejko, 21, suited up in 37 games for the Lakers last season, posting a 7-25-2-1 record along with a 4.25 GAA and a .893 save percentage.

He then had a 3.71 GAA and a .922 save percentage as the Lakers were swept by the Dryden GM Ice Dogs in their best-of-five quarter-final playoff series.

The St-François-Xavier-de-Brompton, Que. native's first stint in the SIJHL came in 2017-18 with the Ice Dogs as he posted a 2.38 GAA and .918 save percentage in 23 games.

Then in four playoff games, he accumulated a 2.73 GAA and a .889 save percentage to help lead the Ice Dogs to their second-straight Bill Salonen Cup as league champions.

Gnidziejko suited up in five games for the Brantford 99ers (OJHL) at the beginning of last season, where he posted a 5.71 GAA and .834 save percentage before he was traded to the Lakers in October for a player development fee.

He also took home the MVP and leadership awards at the Lakers' annual awards banquet held back in March at La Place Rendez-Vous.

Yesterday the Lakers announced that forward Kirk Coppock had committed to play for the Williston State College Tetons next season.

“We would like to wish Kirk the best of luck as he furthers his goals as a student/athlete,” said Strachan.

“Kirk was a good leader and contributed to our team and will definitely make an impact at Williston St.”

Coppock, 21, skated in 51 games with the Lakers last season, finishing fourth in team scoring with 13 goals and 22 assists.

The Thunder Bay native then was held pointless in three playoff games.

Coppock signed with the Lakers ahead of the 2018-19 season after suiting up for the New Ulm Steel of the NA3HL the previous year.

He notched 23 goals and 21 assists in 43 regular season games with the Steel.

Coppock also had one previous stint in the SIJHL back in 2014-15 with the English River Miners [now Red Lake].

He recorded eight goals and six helpers in 50 games before notching an assist in three playoff games.

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