Lakers earn split
With a three-goal lead slipping away for the second-straight night, Fort Frances Lakers’ general manager and head coach Wayne Strachan summoned his troops to the bench for some quick but emphatic few words in the second period of Saturday night’s game against the visiting English River Miners.
The message got through loud and clear as the Lakers scored nine unanswered goals to hammer the Miners 12-2 and salvage a split in their season-opening games at the Ice For Kids Arena.
“We just told them to stay disciplined and keep the puck safe,” he noted.
“We responded well.”
The Lakers regained the momentum less than three minutes after its regrouping session.
John Dora passed the puck from the point down low to Lucas DeBenedet, who zipped a wrist shot past Miners’ goalie Eric Ouellet to make it 4-2.
The Lakers then exploded for eight goals in the third period.
DeBenedet, Lyndon Lipinski, and Bryson Jasper each scored twice in the victory, with Patrick Sofer and Bryce Lipinski each tallying once and adding three assists.
Tarran Romyn, Miles Nolan, Billy Grillo, and Tanner Fricke had the other goals while Jordan Cartney made 21 saves for the win.
Vincent Currao netted both goals for the Miners while Ouellet made 24 saves before being chased at 4:02 of the third when Nolan tallied the Lakers’ third goal in 2:24 to stretch the lead to 7-2.
P.D. Melgoza had no better luck in mop-up duty for English River, though, allowing more goals (five) than he made saves (four).
The Lakers also charged out to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes in their season-opener Friday night against the Thunder Bay North Stars, but gave it all back—and then some—in a 4-3 loss.
The line of DeBenedet, Kevin Kurm, and Mason Meyer did all the damage for the home squad, with each member of the trio scoring once.
DeBenedet and Kurm also collected two assists and Meyer one.
But Thunder Bay found some life with Taylor Santorelli’s goal at 15:42 of the second to cut the lead to two heading into the third.
The final frame was all North Stars as Thunder Bay outshot the Lakers 15-5 and connected three times to steal the victory.
Eric Mann made 23 saves for the visitors while Cartney had 34 stops in a losing cause.
Fort Frances (1-1) heads out for its first road game of the regular season Wednesday when they travel to Dryden to face the Ice Dogs (2-1) in the first of a home-and-home series.
The two teams will square off again this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.