THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Set to meet the Thunder Bay North Stars in the first round of the Superior International Junior Hockey League playoffs next week, the Minnesota Iron Rangers stormed out to an early-four goal lead and rode some stalwart goaltending from Tyler Thompson in eventually skating to a 5-3 victory Saturday night in a contest held at the Norwest Recreation Centre.
It was all Iron Rangers from the onset starting with a Garrett Wojcicki marker 72 seconds in.
Minnesota kept coming and went up by two at 9:09 thanks to Cody Hendrickson.
Eli Kinsman then tallied twice in rapid succession to make it 4-0 with still over nine minutes left to play in the opening period.
Thunder Bay did get two back in the middle session with Brendan Gillis and Alex Maticic both connecting for the North Stars.
However, Joel Nagy added some insurance for Minnesota early in the third to put them up 5-2.
Troy Shermin’s 14th brought Thunder Bay closer, but Iron Rangers’ netminder Tyler Thompson shut the door from there finishing with an impressive 63 saves in all to pick-up the win.
Zac Horn and Mark Sanchez dished out two assists each to aid the Minnesota offensive cause.
Dougie Newhouse allowed the five against on just 24 attempts in the loss for the North Stars.
The two teams will now meet Monday in Game 1 of first round best-of-five playoff series at the Fort William Gardens. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Photo credit: Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com