Superior showcase sidebars

March 4, 2022

All six active teams of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League gathered in the northern Wisconsin town of Spooner for a recent showcase tournament. Each team played two games that counted in the regular season standings.

In a form of parity, the host Wisconsin Lumberjacks, who are in fifth place in the SIJHL standings, won both of their showcase games. Meanwhile, the first place Kam River Fighting Walleye, second ranked Red Lake Miners, third seed Dryden Ice Dogs and fourth place Thunder Bay North Stars all had 1-1 records. Last place Fort Frances Lakers were the only team to not win a game.

Among the highlights from the event:

• What a difference a few weeks can make. It was late February when Wisconsin headed up to Red Lake for a pair of road games. The Lumberjacks were literally lambasted by the Miners, who lit up the visitors by one-sided scores of 13-1 and 17-4. But on the opening day of the March 1-3 showcase, Wisconsin turned the tables on Red Lake with a stunning 5-1 revenge triumph.

Maxime Collette

• Goalie Kyler Lowden (above photo by Leith Dunick) was the story of the Wisconsin win over Red Lake with a spectacular 55-save performance.

• Scoring wise, Brock Weimer of Wisconsin (three goals, two assists) and Tristan Takats (three goals, two assists) and Maxime Collette (two goals, three assists) of Dryden and Lou Vesperini of Thunder Bay (two goals, three assists) all collected five points apiece in the two games.

• Kam River was involved in a pair of come-from-behind contests. The Fighting Walleye began the showcase by overcoming a 4-1 deficit to upend Thunder Bay 6-4. But Kam River then coughed up a 3-0 lead to Red Lake and lost 5-3.

• Third-string goalie Tyler Blazino came to the rescue for the Fighting Walleye with 40 saves in Kam River’s victory over arch-rival Thunder Bay.

• Goalie Eric Clark came off the bench to earn the win with an eight-save relief effort when Dryden upended Fort Frances 5-2. Clark is formerly of the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.

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