In a Friday December 9th match – up in Fort Frances, the Lakers needed a win to gain two points to pull the fifth place (8 – 10 – 1 – 3) Superior International Junior Hockey League franchise even with the fourth place (9 – 10 – 1 – 3) Thief River Falls Norskies at the Ice for Kids Arena.
Veteran Jack Bernie sinks the opening goal of the game to give the Lakers a 1 – 0 lead 10:34 into the first period with Jared Virtanen and Dylan Kooner drawing the assists on Bernie’s seventh goal of the season. Mitchell Soderberg evens the game 1 – 1 at the 15:56 mark of the second with Michael Johnson and Keaton Huot adding the contributors on the Norskies tying goal. 1:15 into the third, Tyler Malpass fires Lakers second goal of the contest to give Fort Frances a 2 – 1 lead with his eighth of the season with Ryan Gazich and Matt Tustin adding the contributors on Malpass’ power play goal. Scoring his second of the game, Bernie brings the Lakers lead to 3 – 1 at 9:27 of the third with Fort Frances’ Kooner and Virtanen setting up Bernie’s eighth of the season.
At 14:08 of the third, Ian Jarvis scores his second of the season to bring the hosts lead to 4 – 1 with Austin Petrie and Jaden Gustafson adding the assists. Matt Tustin and Ryan Gazich registered the helpers on Brandon Zajicek’s third of the season on a Fort Frances power play 17:09 into the period to increase the lead to 5 – 1. With 24 seconds left in the game, Virtanen fires the final goal of the game with a power play marker for the Lakers. Zajicek and gazich had the contributors on Virtanen’s ninth of the season. Laker netminder Brandon Bodnar had 33 saves in Fort Frances 6 – 1 win over the Norskies.
The Lakers and Norskies will now head back to Thief River Falls, Minnesota for a 7:30 p.m (CST) puck drop.