The Thunder Bay North Stars had the English River Miners right where they wanted them Friday night.
Then the parade to the penalty box began – and proved costly.
Up 2-0 11 minutes into their Superior International Junior Hockey League contest on goals by Alex Vaillant and Robert MacLean, the Stars gave the expansion Miners a 46-second two-man advantage late in the opening stanza.
Two minutes later English River had potted three goals, two coming on the power play, to take the lead. The Stars never truly recovered and dropped an 8-6 decision, despite a Daniel Delpaggio hat trick, suffering just their fourth regulation loss of the season.
Paul Lamoureaux and Dominic Blouin scored two apiece for English River, a shoot-out style win that coach Kevin Kahoot said wasn’t exactly the type of game he’s been preaching this season.
“It’s not the game we want to play on a nightly basis,” said Kahoot, who coached the North Stars for a portion of last season.
“I don’t think we’ll have success playing that on a nightly basis, but we pulled it out tonight.”
The early deficit was disheartening, he added, but they quickly figured it out.
“We were just standing around. That’s all it was. You’ve got to compete at this level and we weren’t competing. Once we started moving our feet and getting the puck deep (we did OK). Then we got on the power play and once we got that one goal, we started going.”
North Stars coach Jeremy Adduono wasn’t happy with the penalties, but refused to lay blame on any one player or starting goaltender Nathanial Dupuis, yanked in the second after allowing five goals on 25 shots.
“I liked the way we came out. We came out with good energy, got up 2-0 in our own building and definitely were playing our game,” he said.
“I’m not really going to make a comment on the penalties. I’m not going to blame my guys for the penalties. Sometimes calls go against you and it’s up to us to kill them. And we didn’t do that.”
The Miners managed three power play goals in eight opportunities, and after taking the lead, refused to give it back.
Three times the Stars fought back to even ground, but each time English River had the answer.
Down a goal, Delpaggio netted his first of the night just 33 seconds into the second, but less than two minutes later Devan Vander Wyk replied, his ninth of the season putting English River in front 4-3. Delpaggio tied it at 5:58, but Lamoureaux restored the Miners one-goal lead at 10:17. For the third time in the period, Delpaggio knotted the game, scoring a power play goal at 17:27. But 23 seconds later Lamoureaux answered again.
The Miners pulled away in the third on goals by John Morales and Blouin.
Holden Melgoza stopped 22 shots to earn the win.
Scoring: 1. Thunder Bay, Vaillant 7 (Bra. Wolframe, Cavar) 9:48. 2. Thunder Bay, MacLean 5 (Bre. Wolframe, Adduono) 11:12. 3. English River Hrabec 2 (Lamoureaux, King) 17:16 pp. 4. English River, Morales 12 (Blouin, Bargar) 18:07 pp. 5. English River, Blouin 4 (Currao, Morales) 19:17. Penalties: Johnston ER (interference) 7:35, Bre. Wolframe TB (hooking) 15:39, Walsh TB (tripping) 16:54.
Scoring: 6. Thunder Bay Delpaggio 11 (Gardiman, Walsh) 0:33. 7. English River Vander Wyk 9 (King, Nicoll) 2:42. 8. Thunder Bay, Delpaggio 12 (Grzelewski, Gardiman) 5:58. 9. English River, Lamoureaux 4 (Johnson, Blouin) 10:17. 10. Thunder Bay Delpaggio 13 (Gardiman, Behse) 17:27 pp. 11. English River, Lamoureaux 5 (Binguis, Johnson) 17:50. Penalties: Turner TB (roughing) 3:06, Delpaggio TB, Cavar TB (roughing after the whistle), Hrabec ER (hooking, roughing), Johnston (roughing, misconduct) 12:37, Wickersham ER (tripping) 16:55, Delpaggio TB (tripping) 19:32.
Scoring: 12. English River, Morales 13 (Currao, Bablitz) 4:34. 13. English River, Blouin 5 (Morales, Bargar) 11:39 pp. 14. Thunder Bay, MacLean 6 (Taylor, Hynnes) 14:21 pp. Penalties: Grzelewski TB (cross checking) 2:23, Dartnell ER (unsportsmanlike conduct) 6:11, BehseTB (tripping) 9:22m, Cavar TB (boarding) 10:37, Nicoll ER (tripping) 13:40, Kellaway TB (cross checking), Cavar TB (misconduct)15:41.
GAME DATA – SOG – English River 16-13-10-39, Thunder Bay 13-10-5-28; Power plays (goals-chances) – English River (3-8), Thunder Bay (2-5); Goaltenders – English River: Holden (PD) Melgoza, Thunder Bay: Nathanial Dupuis (25 shots, 20 saves), Mann (10:17 second); A: N/A.
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