Fighting Walleye Perfect in Playoffs

By Gary Moskalyk

Red Lake, ON – Kam River edged out Red Lake 4-3 to advance to the SIJHL finals in a hard-fought four-game sweep. Ryan Doucette notched a pair to lead the charge and Ashton Sadauskas picked up playoff win number seven with 26 saves as the Kam River roiled to their 23rd win in a row en route to their SIJHL finals showdown with the Sioux Lookout Bombers.

Jett Mintenko’s fluttering one-timer beat Ethan Neitsch at the five-minute mark to put the visiting Walleye on the board. Mintenko’s 4th was on the power play. Matthew MacPherson’s backhand squeaked through Sadauskas’ pads to tie it, on a Miners’ power play.

Doucette’s wrist shot over Neitsch’s glove at 10:31 gave Kam River a 2-1 lead heading into the second.

Nathan Dann tied the game at 2-2, when his blocker side snipe found the twine at 12:51 of the middle frame on a Miners’ power play. Evan Lachimea restored the Walleye lead when he accepted Sam Sargent’s backhanded pass, scoring from close range.

Ryan Doucette scored an insurance marker at 18:28 of the third to make it 4-2–his 6th–when he intercepted an errant pass and scored unassisted. Turns out, the Walleye needed it. With Neitsch out for an extra man Gabe Tanton tightened the score to 4-3 with 44 seconds left. The Miners were unable to complete the comeback, however.

Mintenko also had an assist for two points. Noah Tenney had two assists for Red Lake.

Kam River was 1-4 with the extra man while Red Lake was 2-4. Both teams took eight minor penalties.

The finals will begin at Norwest Arena in Oliver-Paipoonge.