THUNDER BAY – Edison Weeks says he hasn’t played a lot of baseball growing up.
He might want to think about it.
Weeks completed his first Superior International Junior Hockey League four-goal game on Sunday night, batting the puck out of mid-air – with an exit velocity rivalling Aaron Judge – slamming it past Wisconsin Lumberjacks goaltender Kyler Lowden to put a stamp on the Thunder Bay North Stars 9-2 win in their first Fort William Gardens game in more than five weeks.
The goals were great, but the win was all that mattered, Weeks said.
“It was huge,” said Weeks, who upped his season total to 12 goals.
“Everyone was going tonight. Nine on the night, that’s huge. And considering they went in and played the top team in the league yesterday, in Kam River, it was 4-4 after three periods and (Kam River) beat them in a shootout last night. For us to come in and (put up) nine, it feels really good.”
The high-flying North Stars have now won four straight and scored 26 goals over their past three outings, putting up nine in back-to-back games.
Weeks said it starts in the locker room.
“Guys get along really well and we do the little things throughout the week,” he said. “We don’t have disputes. We don’t have those bad tempers or attitudes. Everyone in here wants to be here and everybody here wants to win. When you get a group of guys that tight, you get a flow on the ice.”
It helps that coach Rob DeGagne and his staff haven’t stood pat.
Recent additions include Colby Feist, who chipped in four assists on Sunday night, Jack Parker, who had one helper and played a chippy brand of hockey all night, and Jamie Fuchs, who opened the scoring at 2:14 of what proved to be a five-goal first for Thunder Bay.
Parker has four points in three games, Fuchs has seven in three appearances and Feist have five goals and nine points in five games.
“It really changes your product,” DeGagne said of his acquisitions.
“In the last 30 days we’ve got those three guys and then all of a sudden … we’re sitting in a pretty good position and now we just want to play some games and see what we can do.”
The Lumberjacks, playing their third game in three nights and winless in their past 10, came out flat to start the game, not giving Lowden much help in the defensive zone.
Fuchs beat him short side to open the scoring, then Weeks had all day on a feed from behind the net off the stick of Feist, the Lumberjacks on the power play at the time.
Up 3-0, Salvatore Poggialia finally beat Keenan Marks in the North Stars net at 12:11 of the first, but Matthew Halushak and E.J. Paddington scored less than two minutes apart to make it 5-1 Thunder Bay. The Lumberjacks’ Ryan Nutt scored with 1:24 to go in the first, but Wisconsin could draw no closer in a scoreless second.
Weeks completed the hat trick 1:40 into the third, then slammed a comebacker up the middle for a 7-2 lead.
“I really haven’t played baseball, but we practice hand-eye in practice sometimes and it’s a big part of my warm-ups as well. I like to spin the puck on my stick and stuff, so it pays off sometimes in games. You never know when you’re going to use it,” he said.
Dylan Winsor and Nolan Desjardins wrapped up the scoring for the North Stars, the latter’s goal chasing Lowden, who gave up nine goals on 37 shots. Keenan Strong took over and stopped three of three he faced.
Marks made 41 saves for Thunder Bay and was named the game’s third star.