Wilderness defeat Bobcats to conclude SIJHL-NOJHL play
HAYWARD, Wis. - Weekend competition between the Superior International Junior Hockey League and the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League concluded Sunday as the Minnesota Wilderness defeated the Elliot Lake Bobcats 5-1 at Hayward Arena in Wisconsin.
The SIJHL-leading Wilderness won for a 20th straight outing with the victory. They have won 17 in succession in league play as well as defeating the Bobcats Friday before skating to a 3-1 triumph over the reigning NOJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Soo Thunderbirds Saturday.
Also representing the SIJHL were the Fort Frances Lakers who dropped a 7-1 decision to the Thunderbirds Friday before blanking the Bobcats 6-0 Saturday.
In Sunday's contest Jeremy Johnson notched the lone goal of the opening frame early on as the Minnesota forward struck on the power play 3:16 into the contest.
Each team replied in the middle session with another pair of man advantage markers with SIJHL leading scoring Mike Dietrich replying for the Wilderness and Tyler Newsome countering for Elliot Lake.
It was all Minnesota in the final period outshooting the Bobcats 20-4 while tacking on three more tallies.
Notching those efforts were Brian Drapluk, on the power play, along with even strength efforts from Michael MacKinnon and Zach Thielen.
Dan Divis dished out two assists to aid the offensive cause for the two-time defending SIJHL champions.
Overall shots on goal were 59-21 in favour of the Wilderness with JoJo Jeanetta picking up the win and Thomas Graham suffering the setback.
The NOJHL and SIJHL will next meet April 30 through May 4 at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup hosted by the North Bay Trappers.
Joining the host Trappers will be the respective champions of the NOJHL, SIJHL and the Ontario Junior Hockey League with a berth to the Royal Bank Cup on the line.
Should North Bay go on to capture the NOJHL playoff title then the league finalist will also represent the league at the Dudley-Hewitt.
Superior Northern Showdown scores
Jan. 4 (@ Spooner, Wis.)
Soo Thunderbirds 7 Fort Frances Lakers 1
Minnesota Wilderness 9 Elliot Lake Bobcats 3
Jan. 5 (@ Spooner, Wis.)
Fort Frances 6 Elliot Lake 0
Minnesota 3 Soo 1
Jan. 6 (@ Hayward, Wis.)
Minnesota 5 Elliot Lake 1