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Lakers' latest skid hits six-straight


Having three games in as many days proved to be too much of an uphill battle for the Fort Frances Lakers over the weekend.

The squad wound up losing all three and now is mired in a six-game losing streak.

The Thunder Bay North Stars, the hottest team in the SIJHL right now having won 13-straight, set the tone for the Lakers' weekend by blanking them 4-0 on Friday night at the Ice For Kids Arena.

Then the Lakers headed to the Cochenour Arena, where the host English River Miners won 5-4 on Saturday night before earning a 7-3 victory yesterday.

In Friday night's game, Kyle Auger gave Thunder Bay the only tally it would require 15-and-a-half minutes into the first period.

Justin Muir made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later.

Alex Maticic's 17th of the season extended the visitors' lead to three at 12:46 of the second.

Avery Siau then capped the scoring at 16:31 of the third with his 19th of the campaign.

Former Laker Brandon Bodnar earned his SIJHL-leading fifth shutout, turning aside all 32 shots fired his way.

Ismael Ralsten made 33 stops in defeat.

Then on Saturday, Lakers' affiliate player James Gushulak's first two SIJHL goals weren't enough as the Miners escaped with a late 5-4 win.

English River jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period on tallies by Nic Herringer and Brody Jennings.

The Lakers got one back at 12:55 off the stick of Noah Loveday.

Gushulak then notched his first goal two-and-a-half minutes into the second to tie things up before teammate Jaedin Ness connected on the power play at 12:14 to put the Lakers up 3-2.

The Miners answered right back with a man-advantage of their own just 45 seconds later—getting a strike from Landon Russell to knot it at 3-3.

Gushulak then netted his second goal of the game midway through the third to put Fort Frances ahead once again.

But English River proved to be resilient once again, countering quickly as Stratton Pickett evened it at 4-4 on another man-advantage with 7:12 to go.

Then with overtime looming, Jacob Siebenga notched his 10th of the season with 27 seconds to go to send English River to the victory.

Michael Lenko made 28 saves to earn the win while Ralsten again stopped 33 shots in a losing cause.

Yesterday's game wasn't as close as the Miners won by a four-goal margin.

Less than 24 hours after playing the hero, Siebenga notched a goal and five assists to pace the Miners' offence.

Spencer Milne also had an impressive outing for English River, scoring twice and adding three helpers.

Nick Lucas opened the scoring midway through the first period with his 15th marker of the season.

But English River evened it on a power play when Milne bulging the twine at 15:11.

Milne then put the Miners up 2-1 early in the second with his second of the game and 14th overall.

Jack Bernie countered for the Lakers 55 seconds later to knot the score at 2-2.

Siebenga then helped set up Herringer and Michael Di Lullo later in the session to put the home side up by a pair after 40 minutes.

English River then struck twice before the third period was a minute old on goals by Dante Tisi and Siebenga to make it 6-2.

Ian Jarvis did get one back at 7:13 but Jennings capped the scoring a couple of shifts later on a man-advantage.

Westin Cardwell earned the win, finishing with 27 saves.

Ralsten once again took the loss, this time turning aside 30 shots.

The fifth-place Lakers (11-28-1-4 for 27 points) are next in action Wednesday night against the last place Minnesota Iron Rangers (4-36-1-2) in Hoyt Lakes.

The Thief River Falls Norskies (33-6-0-2) continue to lead the SIJHL with 68 points, with the Dryden GM Ice Dogs (29-5-6-2) right behind with 66.

Thunder Bay (30-11-3-0) sit in third with 63 points while the Miners (21-17-0-4) remain in fourth with 27.

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