Tustin the hero in Game 2 Fort Frances OT triumph over Thief River Falls



Release Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Photo credit: Scott DCamp, Thief River Falls Times

Tustin the hero in Game 2 Fort Frances OT triumph over Thief River Falls

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. – Matt Tustin’s unassisted goal 14:23 into overtime propelled the Fort Frances Lakers to a 5-4 victory over a resilient Thief River Falls Norskies side Wednesday in Game 2 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League quarter-final at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

With the result the Lakers now lead this best-of-five series 2-0 and will have an opportunity to close it out at home Friday at Ice for Kids Arena in Fort Frances in Game 3 at 7:30 p.m.

In Wednesday’s match-up, Fort Frances picked up the lone tally of the first period on a fortuitous bounce after Maverick Lynes sent affiliate Ian Tookenay in alone on a breakaway who fired a shot high over the top of the net where it hit the end glass and bounced back in front bouncing off the skate of a Norskies defender and in at 4:17.

Some good work from Brett Pickler allowed Ian Jarvis up the visitors lead early into the middle stanza as he outmuscled a Thief River Falls skater for the puck and shovelled in front where Jarvis whipped his chance high past Ryan Buttazzoni in the Norskies’ net.

Thief River Falls got that back four minutes later thanks to Tommy Stang’s initial SIJHL playoff tally as he finished off the hard work of linemates of Jared Pederson and Mitchell Soderberg.

The Norskies then tied it again late in the stanza as Michael Johnson knocked one in at 18:04.

Fort Frances went back on top six and a half minutes in to the third as Jaden Gustafson swiped the puck off a Norskies defender and made a quick pass to an open Jarvis, who outwaited Buttazzoni and lifted the go ahead marker overtop the sprawled netminder.

However Thief River Falls battled back once more to knot the affair at 3-3 just over a minute later as Bodnar could not control the rebound off a Peter Grytdal shot from the left side that bounced right to Alec Daman at the top of the crease as he swatted in the equalizer at 7:51.

A wild final minute of regulation saw both sides strike to send the contest to OT.

Gustafson put Fort Frances back up once again at 19:22 as he banged in a rebound off a shot from the left wing, but the relentless Norskies countered with Keaton Huot snapping home the tying tally top shelf from the slot 23 seconds later to send it to extra time.

In OT it was the Lakers who finally prevailed as Tustin blocked a shot in his own zone then broke out on a two-on-one where he calmly waited for a diving defender to slide past him before he whipped in the winner blocker side on Buttazzoni to end it.

Bodnar had his second straight 50-plus shot night for Fort Frances finishing with 51 saves in the win while Buttazzoni saw 37 attempts fired his way in defeat.

All SIJHL playoff games will be streamed live online at HockeyTV.com.

SIJHL quarter-final
No. 4 Thief River Falls Norskies vs. No. 5 Fort Frances Lakers
Fort Frances leads best-of-five series 2-0
Game 1: Fort Frances 4 Thief River Falls 1
Game 2: Fort Frances 5 Thief River Falls 4
Game 3: Friday, March 24 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. (Ice for Kids Arena)
Game 4*: Saturday, March 25 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. (Ice for Kids Arena)
Game 5*: Monday, March 27 @ Thief River Falls 7:30 p.m. (Ralph Engelstad Arena)
*-if necessary