THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. – A Jacob Brown power play goal with just under five minutes remaining proved to be the difference maker as the Thunder Bay North Stars went on to edge the Thief River Falls Norskies 3-2 Saturday evening in Superior International Junior Hockey League action at Ralph Rengelstad Arena.
Thief River Falls picked up the lone marker of the opening 20 minutes 3:43 in after a Thunder Bay defender rang the puck around the boards and ended up on the stick of Norksies defenceman Zach Ross who put an attempt towards the net that was redirected by Nick Harder and slipped through the pads of North Stars starter Jordan Smith.
Heading to the second stanza, the visitors drew level two minutes into the frame on a similar play as the opening marker when Maxime Fortin fired one from the point that was tipped by Ben Erwin to knot the affair at 1-1.
Thunder Bay then went in front at 7:09 as Jayden Mrakic came out of the penalty box and was the recipient on an errant pass and went in alone on Norskies netminder Seth Purcilly and promptly roofed one high to the right side to give the guests a 2-1 cushion after two.
Down a man in the third, Thief River Falls tied it at 14:32 as Bryce Johnson and Gavin Miller broke out on a two-on-one with Johnson putting one on the stick of his teammate who went high over the glove to knot the affair at 2-2 with a shorthanded effort.
Still on the same power play though, Thunder Bay collected the game-winner off the stick of Brown in the slot as he deftly knocked down an attempt from Logan Mihalcin that skipped down past Purcilly for the difference maker with 4:59 remaining.
Shots on goal in the contest favoured the North Stars by a 33-26 count with Smith picking up the win and Purcilly the narrow defeat.
Photo credit: Tim Benton