There will be a Game 7 to decide the next Superior International Junior Hockey League Bill Salonen Cup champion.
Colby Feist and EJ Paddington each scored two goals as the Thunder Bay North Stars defeated the Kam River Fighting Walleye 6-2 on Monday night at Fort William Gardens to tie the best-of-seven series at 3-3.
The decisive seventh game will be played Wednesday night at the Walleye’s home rink in Norwest Arena.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. in what should be a sold-out arena. Monday’s attendance was a whopping 1,943 fans.
Keenan Marks made 41 saves as the North Stars won in the series for the first time since going up 2-0 with two road wins April 23-24. Kam River had won three in a row, including a 4-3 decision Sunday on home ice.
“Kids played a great game. We had to win a game at home and we won a game at home,” North Stars head coach Rob DeGagne said after Monday’s win.
“They played good from the beginning to the end. They bought in. I can’t believe they still have the energy that they have. They’re still working well. It’s anybody’s game. We’ll go Wednesday night and see what happens.”
Conner Lemieux was the starter in Game 5 but gave way to Marks, who shut the door on the Walleye on Monday.
“That was a hard decision. Did Conner play bad last game? Not really. Our thought process was (Marks) got us here,” said DeGagne. “He’s played in a Game 6, Game 7 already. He’s played well. Game 7, you know, we won in double overtime and played a great game (Dryden series). Our backs against the wall . . . it was a tough decision.”
Thunder Bay opened the scoring with a late goal in the first period.
With the crowd counting down the seconds Drew Caddo scored with 0.4 seconds left on the clock, going top shelf blocker side with assists from Edison Weeks and Liam Murdoch.
Logan Gallaher tied in at 2:17 on a Kam River powerplay. Feist replied at 3:43 Eric Vanska’s doorstep.
Paddington’s deflection of a Matt Halushak shot upped Thunder Bay’s lead to 3-1.
Braeden Duchesne tightened the score to 3-2 on an unassisted effort.
Paddington scored his second of the game and 6th of the playoffs on a powerplay effort, Dimitri Trahiotis sniped his fourth of the post-season on the powerplay and Feist got his seventh of theses playoffs with an empty net goal.
Wednesday’s winner advances to the Centennial Cup junior A nationals in Portage La Prairie, Man.
The North Stars are gunning for their program’s seventh SIJHL crown, while the third-year Walleye are in search of their first after losing in the final to Red Lake last season.
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