SPOONER, Wis. – A Matt Turnbull marker in the 11th round and 22nd and final attempt of the shootout ended it as the surging Wisconsin Lumberjacks won their fifth Superior International Junior Hockey League game in a row Friday as they pulled out a 4-3 decision over the Red Laker Miners at the Spooner Civic Center.
Wisconsin came out quickly and opened the scoring a minute and a half into the contest on Dalton Garcia’s 10th of the season.
Garcia then added another at 10:58 as he went high on Red Lake starter Cody Levesque.
The Miners cut into the deficit at 15:16 when Ryan Howe got a couple of cracks at it before putting in his 13th to get the visitors on the board.
However, the Lumberjacks came right back to restore their two-goal cushion as Tyler Shetland put one in from a sharp angle to chase Leveque in favour of back-up Samuel Gendron, who went the rest of the way.
Hunter Halcrow connected 1:19 into the second stanza as he finished a long cross-ice feed from Ryan Howe to bring the guests back to within one.
Red Lake then drew level before the session was complete as Shaye Sommerfeld redirected a point shot by Carson Lux moments into a man advantage.
The rest of the frame, as well as all of the third and the five-minute overtime, was scoreless and sent the game into extra shots to decide a winner.
After Wisconsin’s Cameron Birkeland and the Miners’ Rajvir Sangha connected among the initial three attempts for each squad, Gendron and Lumberjacks’ netminder Hunter Adams proceeded to foil the next 16 chances they faced to extend the marathon shootout.
Then on his team’s 11th attempt, Turnbull darted in, made a quick deke then slid the decider between Gendron’s legs to finalize the outcome and help Wisconsin extend their franchise-best winning streak to five in succession.
Adams made 35 saves in 65 minutes of work and 10 of 11 in the shootout to record the victory for the hosts.
Gendron stopped all 23 shots he saw in relief and kicked out nine of 11 after that to help Red Lake earn a point in the standings.
Saturday sees the same two squads meeting once more in a 7:45 p.m. start back in Spooner.
Photo credit: Katrina Schafer