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Lakers finally snap losing skid

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It's been some tough sledding lately for the Fort Frances Lakers but things got a little brighter Friday night.

Forward Jack Bernie had a big night as the Lakers downed the Minnesota Iron Rangers 5-3 at the Ice For Kids Arena to snap a five-game losing streak.

After a mostly back-and-forth first period, Bernie netted the first of his three points when his shot beat Iron Rangers' goalie Tyler Thompson at 17:58.

“It was a good game from start to finish," said Bernie. ”We worked hard and got some goals in the net, which was good.

“The last couple of games we've been in a slump so it was good that we got out of it in that game,” he added.

The Iron Rangers responded just three minutes into the second period when Eli Kinsman buried his fourth of the season past Lakers' goalie Brett Akins.

Jaedin Ness gave the Lakers the lead again at 13:08 with his ninth of the season.

That lead was extended to 3-1 just two-and-a-half minutes later by Julian Uhryniuk, with assists going to Bernie and Mark Richter.

Lakers outshot the Iron Rangers 17-9 in the second period.

Hunter Buzzi made it 4-1 just 1:13 into the final frame, connecting on a power play from Bernie and Skylar Lentz.

“We moved our feet a lot better than we have in the previous two games,” said Lakers' head coach Wayne Strachan.

“We can still improve in areas defensively, but it's definitely a work in progress and we'll keep working hard at it.”

It became a little dicey after that for the Lakers as a lack of discipline led to the Iron Rangers making a game of it.

Kinsman cut the lead to 4-2 with his second of the night at 7:15.

Things went from bad to worse when the Lakers took a high-sticking penalty, then were called for too many men on the ice just 48 seconds later.

Bryce Litke fired one past Akins at 12:15 to make it a one-goal game.

But the Iron Rangers' bid for a comeback fell short as Lentz iced the game with just over a minute left when his fourth of the season sailed in top shelf over a dejected Thompson to make it 5-3.

“It was huge, you know,” Strachan said about the game-sealing goal.

"We kind of made a mental mistake by jumping out and having too many men on the penalty kill and allow them to come within one goal.

“We just figured we would call a time-out, get everything in place if they did pull their goalie, and we just told the guys the more we can play in their end, the better it'll be for us,” he added.

“And fortunately the line out there grinded it out.”

With the win, the Lakers (6-9-1-1) moved past the English River Miners (6-10-0-1) for fourth place in the SIJHL with 14 points.

Shots in the game favoured the Lakers by a 45-27 margin.

Both teams went 1-for-3 with the man-advantage.

Up next for the Lakers is a date with the third-place Thunder Bay North Stars (9-6-3-0) this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena at 7:30 p.m.

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