FORT FRANCES, Ont. – A Mitchell Soderberg power play goal 5:25 into the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Thief River Falls Norskies edged the English River Miners 2-1 Tuesday in a fast-paced Game 2 of the Superior International Junior Hockey League Showcase at Ice for Kids Arena in Fort Frances.
Each side worked to find their way in a scoreless first period with English River starter Michael Lenko handling all eight attempts he faced while Norskies netminder Jackson Nelson turned aside each of the seven shots he saw.
The Miners’ best chance to get on the board came early into the second stanza as Jacob Sienbenga skated down the left side and ripped a shot off the goal post.
Countering, Thief River Falls opened the scoring 5:18 into the middle session as Michael Johnson redirected a Connor Bowey point blast during a man advantage opportunity.
A big glove save seconds into the third by Nelson stoned English River’s Spencer Milne from close range to keep his side in front.
The Norskies then added to their cushion with another power play tally as Johnson slid a cross-ice pass to an Soderberg who one-timed his chance into the open side for the eventual game-winner.
However the Miners got that back 55 seconds later, during a man advantage of their own, as Spencer Milne darted out from the side of net and stuffed a backhand, short side, past Nelson.
Both teams traded chances the rest of the way, but both starting goaltenders finished up with strong outings in the low-scoring affair.
Thief River Falls outshot English River 24-22 in the contest with Nelson picking up the win while Lenko suffered the narrow setback.
Day 1 action at the SIJHL Showcase concludes later tonight as the host Fort Frances Lakers take on the Thunder Bay North Stars at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Game photo credit: Clint Bruyere
Gallery photos: Allison Garrigan