Published: November 8, 2017
BY NSN STAFF
Despite strong offense the English River Miners couldn’t put a stop to the top ranked Thief River Falls Norskies winning streak this weekend, losing two home games to the visiting team in close contests.
On Nov. 3 the Norskies arrived in Cochenour aiming for their 13th straight Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL) victory. Opening the scoring at 1:43 Miners’ Zac Albers recorded his first junior league goal. It stayed 1-0 Miners until late in the second period when Thief River Falls drew level compliments of a Boe Bjorge effort.
The No. 1 Canadian Junior Hockey League-ranked Norskies then got the game-winner five and a half minutes into the third off the stick of Mitchell Soderberg. Drawing an assist on the player was Parker Simonson as he extended a consecutive game point streak to 13 in the process.
English River had a late power play to try and tie it and force overtime, but with their goaltender pulled for an additional attacker, Connor Schuster iced it with a shorthanded empty netter to help secure the 3-1 victory.
Brock Lefebvre finished with 22 stops to pot the win for Thief River Falls while Michael Lenko handled 25 of 27 in a narrow defeat for the Miners.
The following night the Miners again started off the scoring by grabbing a 2-0 lead after one period of play. Ethan Wong scored his 4th goal of the season at 6:53 by picking up a puck lying in the open. Sam Cirone would make the score 2-0 for the Miners at 10:32 with a long wrist shot from the point after a face-off win by Matt O’Neill.
Action in the second stanza saw Pete Grytdahl collect his first of the year for Thief River Falls to put his side on the board. Nic Herringer’s initial SIJHL marker restored the Miners’ two-goal cushion at 19:03 of the frame only to see Blair Lindholm counter for the Norskies 15 seconds later for his first to make it a 3-2 game after two.
In the third, Thief River Falls struck again midway session to force overtime when Logan Jackson connected on the power play to record his first of the campaign.
It was scoreless through the remainder of regulation and the five-minute OT sending it to extra shots to determine a winner.
In the shootout, it was the Norskies’ Jared Pedersen that notched the lone tally as he darted in, cut left and lifted a backhand past English River netminder Westin Cardwell to put his club in front.
The Miners had one last chance to force additional attempts but Brock Lefebvre stood tall in the Thief River Falls goal to help his team extend their impressive run to a franchise record 14-0 overall in league play.
Lefebvre was solid all night making 44 saves in regulation and OT and also stopping all three chances he faced in the shootout in picking up the win. Cardwell faced 38 attempts in defeat helping the Miners earn a point.
Thief River pushed their winning streak to 15 straight on Sunday night as they faced off against the second ranked Dryden GM Ice Dogs. Thief River Falls goaltender Brock Lefebvre had a stellar night handling all 36 attempts he faced to register his SIJHL-best third shutout of the campaign as the Norskies posted a 2-0 triumph.
The Ice Dogs were coming off a 4-1 win over English River earlier in the week.
Meeting on Nov. 1 a first period power play allowed the Miners to pick-up the lone tally of the frame as Michael Di Lullo notched his fifth of the campaign at 16:18.
The second period saw the Miners get into penalty trouble giving the SIJHL’s best power play multiple chances against the leagues worst penalty kill. At 5:54 Connor Mowat would convert a Luke Bellerose pass on a 2 on 1 rush for his first on the power play. Just over two minutes later Trevor Kavanaugh would blast one by Cardwell on a 5 on 3 power play. The Miners would kill off another lengthly 5 on 3 man advantage, then one more power play before the period would end. After 40 minutes Dryden out shot the Miners 24-21 and lead 2-1 on the scoreboard.
Malcolm Huemmert added some insurance for the GM Ice Dogs midway through the third before Tristan Knott iced it with an empty netter in the late going to round out the night’s scoring. Cory Dennis chipped in with two assists to aid the Dryden cause.
Westin Cardwell faced 36 attempts in defeat for the Miners in a contest that saw the two sides meet for a third straight outing.
The Miners kept home ice advantage on Tuesday, Nov. 7 as they faced off against the Fort Frances Lakers. Game details were unavailable at press time.
(seen here) Miners work to bury the puck on Thief River Falls goalie Brock Lefebvre during the first period of play on Saturday night. – Photo by Jennifer Parsons