Lakers earn sweep
The arrow is pointing up in all areas for the Fort Frances Lakers these days.
The Lakers moved closer to clinching top spot in the SIJHL after a weekend home-and-home sweep of the Minnesota Iron Rangers, winning 6-2 here Friday night before squeezing out a 3-2 victory Saturday in Hoyt Lakes.
He copped his third such award after getting eight points in three games this past week.
“Until [Meyer] scored his first goal in the second, we were controlling the play, I thought, but we were kind of snake-bitten,” Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan said about Friday’s game.
“Mason has led like this in the past and he kind of said, ‘Watch me, follow my lead,’ and took us on his back for about 10 minutes,” Strachan noted.
“As a result, he scores three nice goals.
“When he moves his feet, powers pucks to the net, and gets his shot off, he is a threat and it was nice to watch on this night,” added Strachan.
Lyndon Lipinski, Patrick Sofer, and Donovan Cousineau also scored Friday while Devin Tappenden made 23 saves to earn the win.
Eric Madison and Evan Erickson (short-handed) had the Rangers’ tallies, with Alex Reichle making 38 stops.
Then on Saturday, Lipinski came through in the clutch with a power-play goal with just 27 seconds left in the third period.
“I don’t think Lyndon realized all the time he had but when he did, he drove from the corner to the front of the net and slipped the puck far side on the goalie,” Strachan recounted.
“It came at a big time and was a big goal.”
Kyle Lipinski and Lucas DeBenedet, who busted through the 100-point barrier this weekend and now leads the SIJHL with 102 points, also scored for the Lakers to give them a three-game winning streak.
It also makes them the first team in the league to hit the 40-win plateau (40-6-2-2).
Austin Frank and Jason Reynolds (short-handed) replied for Minnesota (28-14-2-4).
Tappenden had 30 saves in the victory while Erick Majerle turned aside 21 shots in a losing cause.
The Lakers, with six games left in the regular season, hold an 11-point lead over the second-place Thunder Bay North Stars (34-9-1-4), who hold two games in hand.
That means the North Stars, currently riding a five-game winning streak, would have to go undefeated in their final eight games while have the Lakers lose four of their last six in regulation time to catch them.
The Lakers return to action tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. against the Dryden Ice Dogs (19-26-5) in their second of two games scheduled at the new Couchiching Arena this season.