Big night for Bruchowski

Thunder Bay North Stars forward Cody Bruchowski (24) fights for the loose puck with Red Lake Miners forward Nathan Engel (28) as Miners goaltender Zach Willms (30) looks on during Superior International Junior Hockey League action Friday at Fort William Gardens.

Cody Bruchowski scored a hat trick and assisted on two others as the Thunder Bay North Stars handed the Red Lake Miners their first Superior International Junior Hockey League loss of the season, an 8-3 decision at Fort William Gardens.

Thunder Bay broke open a 3-3 tie with a Bruchowski power-play goal, Joel Willan’s first of the season, Ben Erwin’s third of the year, Nikolas Campbell’s short-handed effort at 13:05 of the final frame and Bruchowski’s hatty with 26 seconds left.

Erwin’s goal ended Zach Willms’ night at 3:17 of the third period, as the Red Lake netminder took his first loss against five wins.

Thunder Bay’s Jordan Smith stopped 27 of 30 for his fifth win of the year.

The win puts the North Stars in first in the SIJHL with a 6-1 record, while Red Lake drops to 5-1.

“If you want to score you got to go to the net,” said Bruchowski of his third goal. “I just went to the net, banged one in. It was up in the air. Their guy hand passed it into his own net. It’s a good goal. They don’t ask how, they ask how many.”

Bruchowski was stymied early in the final stanza by replacement goaltender Samuel Gendron on a clear-cut breakaway, but atoned with time running down.

Jacob Anttonen finished with a goal and two helpers, while Erwin and Campbell collected a goal and assist each.

Newcomer Nick Priuitera collected an assist in his first game.

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