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Lakers extend skid

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It was close once again but still didn't turn out in their favour.

The Fort Frances Lakers saw its losing streak extend to five-straight games with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Thunder Bay North Stars last night at the Fort William Gardens.

The North Stars opened the scoring when they capitalized on their first power play of the night off the stick of Kyle Auger at 11:11 of the first period.

Fort Frances countered with a man-advantage effort of their own late in the first period thanks to the 18th marker of the season from Nick Lucas.

Ryan Mignault netted his 23rd of the campaign at 9:41 of the second to put the North Stars up 2-1.

Avery Siau then was awarded a penalty shot at 6:43 of the third period to try and put his side up by a pair, but he was foiled by Lakers' goalie Ismael Ralsten.

The Lakers then notched tying goal with 7:18 left in regulation time on a Jack Dunnell effort to force overtime.

After the extra frame solved nothing, a shootout was needed to determine the winner.

Bradley Thrower and Keigan Gerrie made good on their chances for the hosts while Adam Withers had the lone Lakers' marker.

Former Laker Brandon Bodnar made 29 saves to earn the win while Ralsten turned aside 38 shots in his return to the lineup after dealing with an injury.

The fifth-place Lakers (15-32-2-5) are back in action tomorrow night they host the second-place Dryden GM Ice Dogs (38-8-6-2) at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.

Then they'll wrap up the regular season by welcoming the front-running Thief River Falls Norskies (40-10-2-2) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Fort Frances will open its best-of-five quarter-final playoff series against the fourth-place Miners (28-22-1-4) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cochenour Arena.

In related news, the SIJHL yesterday announced the finalists for each of its individual awards for the 2017-18 regular season.

A trio of Lakers were named, including Jaedin Ness (best defensive forward), captain Julian Uhryniuk (most improved player), and Nick Lucas (most sportsmanlike player).

The other finalists for best defensive forward are Mitchell Soderberg (Norskies) and Avery Siau (North Stars) while Mark Sanchez (Minnesota Iron Rangers) and Cody Aarvig (Norskies) are the other most improved finalists.

Also up for most sportsmanlike are Michael Johnson (Norskies) and Alex Maticic (North Stars).

Finalists for the Mallons Corporate Impressions/Play It Again Sports MVP are Jacen Bracko (Ice Dogs), Parker Simonson (Norskies), and Brad Thrower (North Stars).

Nominees for the CCM Hockey best defenceman are Cory Dennis (Ice Dogs), Brody Jennings (Miners), and Joe Newhouse (North Stars).

Finalists for top goalie include Michael Lenko (Miners), Bailey Schmitz (Norskies), and Brandon Bodnar (North Stars) while the CCM Hockey rookie-of-the-year finalists are Evan Walls (Ice Dogs), Jacob Siebenga (Miners), and Keighan Gerrie (North Stars).

Coach of the year finalists include Kurt Walsten (Ice Dogs), Cole Workman (Norskies), and Rob DeGagne (North Stars).

Voting for these honours was completed by each club in the SIJHL.

The winner of each individual honour will be announced over the course of the coming days, leading up to the conclusion of the league playoffs.

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