THUNDER BAY, Ont. – A Kyle Auger goal, 11 minutes into the third period, was the game-winner as the Thunder Bay North Stars pulled out a 5-4 victory over the visiting Thief River Falls Norskies Thursday, in Superior International Junior Hockey League play at the Fort William Gardens.
The Auger marker was his 87th point of the campaign, which established a new SIJHL record for points in a single season by a defenceman, surpassing the 86 Jordan Smith compiled for the North Stars back during the 2006-07 campaign.
Thursday’s tilt saw Thief River Falls open the scoring 13:35 into the contest on a Boe Bjorge effort.
Thunder Bay drew level just before the first period came to a close as Ryan Mignault put one in from the point during a late power play chance.
Heading to the middle session, the North Stars tallied twice before the stanza was two minutes as markers from Josh Bryant and Michael Stubbs chased Norskies starter Bailey Schmitz in favour of Fletcher Bolda.
Battling back, Thief River Falls countered with two of their own later in the frame compliments of Connor Bowey and another from Bjorge.
Third period play saw Tate Steffan bang one in for the Norskies at 7:47 during a two-man advantage.
Regrouping, Thunder Bay levelled the proceedings a couple shift later as Jacob Anttonen put one past Bolda to knot the affair at 4-4.
From there Auger set his league mark after taking a Keighan Gerrie feed and firing home the difference maker.
Thief River Falls pulled their netminder in the late going as they pressed for the equalizer and to try and force overtime, but North Stars netminder Brock Aiken made a couple of key stops in the final moments to secure the win.
Brendan Gillis had a pair of assists in the triumph for Thunder Bay while Blake Nelson did likewise for the Norskies.
The North Stars held the edge in shots by a 40-35 count with Aiken earning the victory.
Bolda stopped 21 of 23 in relief in suffering the setback while Schmitz allowed three against on 17 attempts.
Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com