It was a long time coming for the Fort Frances Lakers.
Exactly two months to the day of their last triumph, a 5-3 decision over the Minnesota Iron Rangers back on Nov. 10, the Lakers finally tasted victory again last night with a 5-3 win over the host Thunder Bay North Stars.
Jaedin Ness scored twice and Adam Withers contributed three assists to help their team snap its 13-game losing streak.
Ness opened the scoring 6:27 into the first period, assisted by Nick Lucas and Withers.
Jack Bernie then netted his eighth of the season 2:47 into the second stanza to make it 2-0.
Fort Frances native Ian Tookenay made it 3-0 at 4:31, with former North Star Dustin Roitelman drawing the assist to record his first point as a Laker.
Christian Ward upped the lead to 4-0 at 8:16 after burying his second tally as a Laker, with assists going to Withers and Bernie.
That goal chased former Laker Brandon Bodnar from Thunder Bay's net in favour of Dougie Newhouse.
But trying to snap their lengthy skid didn't come easy for the Lakers as the North Stars made a valiant comeback attempt.
Troy Sherman broke the “goose egg” at 9:11 with his ninth of the year.
Dillon Ward made it 4-2 when he buried a feed from Carson Smith and Alexander Erwin 3:36 into the third period.
Joe Newhouse then pulled the North Stars to within a goal at 12:18.
But Lucas scored an empty-netter with 35 seconds to go to seal the 5-3 victory.
Ismael Ralsten earned the win between the pipes, finishing with 28 saves.
Bodnar took the loss for Thunder Bay, making just three stops on seven shots.
Dougie Newhouse stopped nine shots in relief.
Shots on goal favoured the North Stars by a 31-17 margin.
Fort Frances went 0-for-2 on the man-advantage while Thunder Bay went 0-for-1.
The Lakers next are in action tomorrow when they host the Minnesota Iron Rangers at 7:30 p.m. in the first of a home-and-home series.
Minnesota then will host Fort Frances on Saturday at 7 p.m. down in Hoyt Lakes.
The Thief River Falls Norskies continue to lead the SIJHL with a 28-1-0-0 record.
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs (23-3-5-1) occupy second place, with the North Stars (17-11-3-0) in third and the English River Miners (13-13-0-3) in fourth.
Fort Frances (7-20-1-3) sits in fifth place while the Iron Rangers (3-24-1-2) remain in the league basement.