North Stars answer to even series with Miners

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Thunder Bay North Stars trio of Jacob Brown, Keighan Gerrie and Ryan Mignault collected nine points between them as they went on to upend the Red Lake Miners 5-2 Sunday in Game 2 of the Superior International Junior Hockey League Bill Salonen Cup Final at the Fort William Gardens.

With the triumph, the North Stars even the best-of-seven set at a win apiece with the series now shifting to Cochenour Arena in Red Lake for Games 3 & 4 Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CT.

Thunder Bay would open the scoring nearly 15 minutes into the first period on a delayed penalty as Brown wheeled out of the corner and put one top shelf on Red Lake starter Zach Willms.

The Miners were quick to strike early in the middle session as Matt Krawiec’s harmless looking shot from the left point sailed past North Stars’ netminder Brock Aiken 37 seconds in.

Countering, the home side went back on top at 6:53 as Joel Willan left one for Michael Stubbs who came down the middle and wired one blocker side on Willms.

Thunder Bay tacked on another before the period was complete with Kyle Auger putting one on net that bounced right to Brown, who buried his second of night.

The North Stars kept coming and went up 4-1 two and a half minutes into the third during a man advantage as Mignault let one go from the blueline that clipped Brown then bounced off of Jonathan Kilby and in for his first SIJHL playoff goal.

Answering back, the Red Lake forecheck generated their second marker of the night that resulted in Ryan Patterson picking up his initial postseason effort with assists going to Connor Jacobs and Ethan Stuckless.

The hosts clicked once more as they capitalized on a five-on-three that saw Keighan Gerrie notch his fifth to put Thunder Bay back up by three that featured Mignualt’s third helper of the game in what proved to be the evening’s final marker.

With his one-goal, two-assist night, Gerrie has now picked up at least one point in seven straight playoff games.

The North Stars held a big edge in the shots department, 57-23, with Aiken registering the victory while Willms suffered the defeat.

SIJHL Playoffs
Series E
Bill Salonen Cup Final
Thunder Bay North Stars vs. Red Lake Miners
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Game 1: Red Lake 6 Thunder Bay 1
Game 2: Thunder Bay 5 Red Lake 2
Game 3: Wednesday, April 17 @ Red Lake 7:30 p.m. (Cochenour Arena)
Game 4: Thursday, April 18 @ Red Lake 7:30 p.m. (Cochenour Arena)
Game 5: Saturday, April 20 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. (Fort William Gardens)
Game 6*: Monday, April 22 @ Red Lake 6:30 p.m. (Cochenour Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 24 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. (To be determined)
*-if necessary

Winner advances to the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship, April 30 – May 4 @ Cochrane, Ont.

Photo credit: Rick Baraniuk