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North Stars advance, Fighting Walleye up 3-0

Sioux Lookout advances with a sweep of Fort Frances and Dryden staved off elimination with an overtime win over Red Lake.
Thunder Bay's E.J. Paddington scored the Game 2 game-winner on Friday, March 24, 2023 against the Red Lake Miners, the North Stars winning the game 4-3 at Fort William Gardens.(Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com0

THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay North Stars are moving on.

The Stars doubled up the host Wisconsin Lumberjacks 4-2 on Friday to complete a four-game sweep of their best-of-seven Superior International Junior Hockey League opening-round series.

E.J. Paddington and Eric Sheriff scored third-period goals to break open a 2-1 contest and the Stars went on to clinch a spot in the second round, most likely against the Sioux Lookout Bombers.

Edison Weeks and Easton Mikus also scored for Thunder Bay. Dillon Phillips and Axel Wyatt had the Lumberjacks tallies, the only two of 39 Wisconsin shots to find their way past goaltender Keenan Marks in the North Stars net.

William Forrester took the loss, good on 35 of 39 Thunder Bay shots.

Kam River 10, Kenora 2: The Fighting Walleye moved to within a win of the second round, taking a commanding 3-0 lead on the expansion Islanders. Liam Bell and Ryan Doucette had a pair of goals each to pace the Fighting Walleye attack, with singles going to Brydon Bell, Carter Nailen, Easton Debray, Evan Lachimea, Jacob Sargent and Kaden Goodwin, his fourth of the series. Jarod Lemieux and Keanu Woodhouse scored for the Islanders, who will try to stave off elimination in Saturday night’s Game 4.

Dryden 5, Red Lake 4: The Ice Dogs avoided a four-game sweep thanks to McLaren Paulsen’s overtime winner, 4:32 into the extra frame. The Ice Dogs took an early 3-0 lead on goals by Sean Smith, Elias Eisenbarth and Tanner Skypnyk, but the Miners rallied back with three straight goals in a 6:45 span. Matthew MacPherson, Noah Tenney and Blake Hiltermann had the rapid-fire tallies that evened the score 3-3, but Paulson scored with 25 seconds left in the second to give the Ice Dogs a 4-3 lead at the break. Gabe Tanton scored for Red Lake in the third to send the game to OT. Red Lake leads the series 3-1 and can wrap things up on Monday night in Dryden.

Sioux Lookout 4, Fort Frances 1: The Bombers swept their way into the second round with a road win over the Lakers. Kaden Veller scored twice and added an assist for Sioux Lookout. Blake Burke and Connor Burke also scored for the Bombers. Kyle Garlan had the lone goal for the Lakers.

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
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