Skip to content

Campbell, Paddington score twice in North Stars win

Thunder Bay snapped a two-game losing streak, thanks in part to strong special teams play.

THUNDER BAY – Nikolas Campbell was brought back for a lot of reasons, but most of all the Thunder Bay North Stars were hoping for a spark on offence.

His goal-scoring touch was in fine form on Wednesday night, netting a pair of power play goals – both within 10 seconds of the opposition infraction beginning – leading the home side to a 5-3 win over the visiting expansion Sioux Lookout Bombers.

More importantly, the win snapped a two-game slide by the North Stars, who dropped two straight on the road to cross-town rival Kam River on Friday and Saturday night.

For Campbell, it was his second straight two-goal outing, and the effort gave him six goals in eight games since returning to the SIJHL after a two-year absence playing for Amarillo in the North American Hockey League.

“It was a big decision to come back,” said Campbell, who put up 48 points as a rookie for the North Stars in 2019-20 in 52 outings, then added six points in four games in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign before heading south of the border.

“I know a lot of the guys here and hopefully I can help bring a championship to the North Stars. They helped me a lot in my 17-year-old year.”

The 20-year-old brought a win-first mentality from Texas.

“I don’t really look at the points. I’m here to win. Obviously it feels good to help the team any way I can, so putting the puck in the net, that helps the team win, so that’s what I’ll do.”

North Stars coach Rob DeGagne was only too happy to welcome a mid-season addition with the talent Campbell brings to the Thunder Bay lineup.

“He’s a 20-year-old. He’s a skill player. We expect a lot out of Nik, but I think Nik expects a lot out of himself too,” DeGagne said. “We’re super happy to have him and as the season goes on he’ll get even better for us. He’ll get a little more confident with the guys he’s playing with and it’s a win for us for sure getting him.”

Campbell is playing alongside Colby Feist and Jamie Fuchs and the trio has put up 21 points in 21 combined games since Campbell arrived on Jan. 13.

They added four more on Wednesday night at Fort William Gardens.

Already up 1-0 on defenceman Sam Skillestad’s first of the season, Campbell found the back of the Sioux Lookout net from Jake Masters’ doorstep, lifting the puck high on the Bombers goaltender.

Seven minutes later Campbell was at it again, needing just 10 seconds from the start of Thunder Bay’s second power-play of the night to up the home team’s lead to 3-0.

But the first-year Bombers, the surprise of the Superior International Junior Hockey League season, don’t have the word quit in their vocabulary.

Ty Bahm beat Keenan Marks in the Thunder Bay net with 1:40 to go in the first, then made a backdoor pass to Tegan Neuman 75 seconds into the second, the latter faced with a wide-open North Stars net, and just like that, the lead was cut to 3-2.

E.J. Paddington restored the two-goal lead 28 seconds later and Thunder Bay led 4-2 after 40 minutes. Early in the third it was back to one, Connor Burke potting his 11th of the season.

It was as close as they’d get.

Paddington iced it with seven minutes to go, grabbing the puck near centre and racing down the right side, cutting across the middle and shoveling it through the skates of Masters for the shorthanded tally.

“It was a matter of getting some shots tonight in some traffic and we capitalized a couple of times. It would have been nice to get a couple more on the power play, but it’s a start,” DeGagne said, his team going 2-for-5 on the power play. 

The Stars (17-13-4) climbed to within two points of fourth-place Red Lake (18-16-4), with four games in hand, and three of Sioux Lookout, who fell to 20-14-1.

Thunder Bay hosts Dryden for a pair this weekend at the Gardens.

: 1. Thunder Bay, Skillestad 1 (Feist, Halushak) 5:52 pp. 2. Thunder Bay, Campbell 5 (Feist, Fuchs) 7:59. 3. Campbell 6 (Skillestad, Fuchs) 13:49 pp. 4. Sioux Lookout, Bahm 12 (Neuman, Trimarchi) 18:20. Penalties: McGill SLB (slashing) 4:44. Wesley TB (slashing) 8:31, McGill SLB (interference) 13:39.

: 5. Sioux Lookout, Neuman (Bahm) 1:15. 6. Thunder Bay, Paddington 9 (Halushak, Trahiotis) 1:43. Penalties: Murdoch TB (interference) 5:29, Milburn SLB (hooking) 12:01, McGill SLB (interference) 15:53.

: 7. Sioux Lookout, C. Burke 11 (B. Burke) 2:22. 8. Thunder Bay, Paddington 10 (unassisted) 12:53 sh. Penalties: Skillestad TB (hooking) 0:18, Trimarchi SLB (high sticking) 7:04, Feist TB (high sticking) 12:31.

GAME DATASOG – Sioux Lookout 12-11-16-39, Thunder Bay 20-16-13-49; Power plays (goals-chances) – Sioux Lookout (0-4), Thunder Bay (2-5); Goaltenders – Sioux Lookout: Jake Manners, Thunder Bay: Keenan Marks; A: 307.



Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks