Norskies strike late to blank Lakers

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. – Zach Ross broke a scoreless tie with 5:40 remaining in regulation while Bailey Schmitz turned aside all 34 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season as the Thief River Falls Norskies blanked the Fort Frances Lakers 3-0 in a Superior International Junior Hockey League match-up Wednesday evening at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The contest was a goaltenders duel throughout with Schmitz and the Lakers’ Jacob Gnidziejko standing tall and keeping opposing shooters at bay.

Ross would eventually break the deadlock deep into the third period as he picked up the eventual game-winner with help from Bryce Johnson and Connor Bowey.

Looking to tie it and force overtime, Fort Frances pulled their netminder twice in the late going, however the Norskies’ Boe Bjorge and Mason McIntosh both scored into an empty net in the final minute to help secure the victory.

Bjorge’s tally helped him extend a consecutive game point streak to 11 in the process.

Brett Piper dished out a pair of assists for Thief River Falls in the win.

Gnidziejko faced 22 shots in the narrow defeat for the Lakers.

Photo credit: Tim Benton