Norskies start and finish strong in victory over Miners

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. – The Thief River Falls Norskies started strong and did likewise at the end as they went on to defeat the Red Lake Miners 5-3 Friday in a Superior International Junior Hockey League encounter at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Blake Nelson and Jake Eischen got the Norskies going with first period goals to put the home side up by two after 20 minutes.

Going to the power play in the middle stanza, Red Lake cut into the deficit at 5:07 when Bryce Young brought the visitors to within one.

However, Brett Piper got that back for Thief River Falls at 12:52 to restore the two-goal cushion heading into the third.

In that final frame, the Miners struck twice to level the proceedings as Stratton Pickett connected at even strength while Young converted while his club was shorthanded for his second of the night and team-leading 10th overall with 8:35 to go.

Regrouping, the Norskies saw Zach Ross pickup his first SIJHL goal at 15:42 to put them back in front for good.

Boe Bjorge then helped secure the win with a late empty net effort to round out the scoring.

Michael Crosbie, Bryce Johnson, Connor Bowey and Nick Harder all had two assists each for Thief River Falls.

Bailey Schmitz made 32 saves to record the victory while Zach Willms stopped 28 of 32 in defeat for Red Lake.

The same two teams meet again Saturday at 7 p.m. back at The Ralph.

Photo credit: Tim Benton