Mathias Gardiman scored a pair of second-period goals to help the Thunder Bay North Stars establish a 3-0 lead over the Dryden Ice Dogs on Saturday night.
The second proved to be the difference as the North Stars withstood a late charge and earned a 3-2 win at Fort William Gardens.
Chris Belhumeur and Austin Lewis scored 3:27 apart late in the middle stanza to pull the Ice Dogs within a goal, but could not get the equalizer in a scoreless third period.
Matt Kaarela opened the scoring in the first, beating Eric Szymczyk at 18:09.
Jayme Brattengeier picked up the win in nets for the North Stars (14-11-0), who remained two points behind Dryden (15-12-0) in third place.
Elsewhere the Fort Frances Lakers got singles in each period, Alex Bruess netting the winner in the second in the shutout 3-0 win over the host Minnesota Iron Rangers. Also Jordan Shockley and Nick McCormack had a goal and an assist apiece as the Minnesota Wilderness landed a 5-1 win over the Duluth Clydesdales.
The North Stars, who fell 4-1 to Dryden on Friday, visit Duluth on Sunday.
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