With a win on March 25th in the 2017 Survivor Series in Fort Frances in game four over the Thief River Falls Norskies, the Lakers could advance to the semi – final against the first place Dryden Ice Dogs in Superior International Junior Hockey League action. The Lakers hit the ice on Saturday evening with a 2 – 1 series lead.
Jack Bernie fires his first of the 2017 post – season for the Lakers 32 seconds into the game with Connor Keith and Tyler Malpass drawing the helpers on Bernie’s goal. Affiliate player Colton Bodnar sends a pass to veteran Dylan Kooner 54 seconds into the first to bring Fort Frances lead to 2 – 0. With 3:26 left in the opening period and on a Laker power play, Brandon Zajicek assisted on Ian Jarvis third of the playoffs to increase the lead to 3 – 0.
Tommy Stang pulls the Norskies within two at 15:25 of the third on a Thief River Falls unassisted goal. With their second unassisted goal of the period, Jared Pederson closes the gap to one for the visitors in Fort Frances at 16:29 of the period. Brandon Bodnar turned away 46 of 48 shots in the Lakers 3 – 2 win to advance to a SIJHL semi – final against the Ice Dogs.
Coach Wayne Starchan told the Junior Hockey Network that “it’s was good to see us rebound from yesterday. We needed a good strong start and the first goal tonight to get some confidence. I certainly didn’t expect it to happen so quickly and to get two in :54 seconds as we did kind of set the tone and we started to believe in ourselves. We definitely came out with much more urgency and desperation in our game and as a result got the jump on them through the first. In the second we continued to play well until a power play with about six to seven minutes left in the period we gave up two breakaways and a two on one opportunity for their penalty kill and you felt the momentum start to change. Bodnar definitely got us through the second with some big stops and the bounces were on our side.”
“We knew going into the third they would bring everything they had with their season on the line and they brought everything the push they made found us on our heals for most the period and I felt for the most part we did a good job in keeping things to the outside and paying the price to help our goaltender. When they got the two goals which were not pretty by any means it definitely was a swing in emotions. I felt we did a decent job defending and when we needed a save Bods got the job done. They didn’t give up and it was fitting of our seasons series all year a battle back and forth. The Norskies are definitely headed in the right direction.”
“In advancing we meet the best team in the league. A team that was superior to everyone in the regular season, a team built to win and a team that will be hungry to beat us with past happenings in the past seasons. A team that boasts a lethal offense and can hurt you if your not at the top of your game. It will definitely not be an easy task for us to conquer. We will prepare in the next few days and get ourselves ready for game one in Dryden on Wednesday March 29th.”