SPOONER, Wis. – Cody Bruchkowski, the premier goal-scorer in the Superior International Junior Hockey League, tacked on two more to his totals Wednesday afternoon, including the game-winner, as he helped lift the Thunder Bay North Stars to a 5-2 victory over the Thief River Falls Norskies to commence Day 2 play at the SIJHL Showcase at the Spooner Civic Center.
Thief River Falls held a 17-7 edged in shots in the first period, but the two clubs hit the intermission still scoreless thanks to the efforts North Stars’ netminder Seth McKay and his Norskies counterpart Caleb Sauer.
Action in the middle stanza saw Thunder Bay open the scoring six minutes in while shorthanded as a shot by a defender clipped off a pair of North Stars, which allowed Hunter Foreshew to chip the puck ahead and race down the ice on a breakaway where he pumped a shot into the top right hard corner for his second man-down marker in as many games.
They then added to their lead at 13:47 when Jacob Anttonen made a perfect cross-ice pass right on the tape of Adam Morgan, who promptly one-timed one past Sauer, as he too scored for a second straight contest.
In the third, the Norskies came out fast and connected twice before the session was two and a half minutes in to knot the affair at 2-2.
Isaac Baron got the first one for TRF as he buried a Cory Checco cross-crease feed from close range.
They then drew level at 2:20 with defenceman Dennis Fisher letting a high shot go from the right point they sailed through a maze in front for his first SIJHL goal.
However, the North Stars came right back a few shifts later to go back on top for good as Bruchkowski put home a rebound off a right point attempt from Nicholas Privitera to collect his league-leading 45th goal in SIJHL play.
Combined with the five he had to begin the year with the Brockville Braves (CCHL), that was his 50th in Canadian Junior Hockey League action in 2019-20.
Not done there, Bruchkowski continued his torrid pace that has seen him score in six straight and have points in a dozen consecutive match-ups, by corralling the puck in the neutral zone then driving down the right wing where wired home another to put his club back up by two.
Thunder Bay then wrapped things up with a long-range empty net effort from Jacob Brown in the final minute to secure the victory.
Kyler Belluz chipped in with two assists to aid the North Stars cause.
McKay finished with 35 saves to record the win while Sauer stopped 23 of 27 in defeat.
Photo credit: Karina Schafer