Norskies strike twice late to hold off Lakers rally

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. – A Jake Eischen power play goal with just under six minutes remaining in regulation proved to be the game-winner as the Thief River Falls Norskies broke a tie in an eventual 5-3 triumph over the Fort Frances Lakers in a Superior International Junior Hockey League encounter Wednesday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

The Norskies also came out strong in this one as they grabbed a 2-0 lead after one period of play on tallies from Alec Severson and Tate Steffan.

Michael Crosbie then put the Norskies up by three at 11:21 of the second stanza only to see Fort Frances battle back on goals from Brett Hahkala, via the man advantage, and Ethan Knutsen, at even strength, to make it a 3-2 score after two.

The Lakers then drew level at 11:28 of the third as Nate Drobnick’s third, coming with his side up a skater, tied it.

However, Thief River Falls came back on the power play themselves to break the deadlock on Eischen’s sixth of the campaign.

Boe Bjorge, who had an assist on the Eischen marker, then wrapped things up with an empty netter in the final minute, during another man advantage, on a night where he ran a consecutive game point streak to 19.

Blake Nelson chipped in with two helpers for TRF.

The Norskies held a big edge in shots on goal, outshooting Fort Frances 43-18 on the night.

Bailey Schmitz picked up the win in net as Thief River Falls won their fifth straight while Jacob Gnidziejko finished with 38 stops in defeat.

Photo credit: Tim Benton