The Minnesota Wilderness beat a red-hot goalie to win the league championship, only to encounter another in Day 1 action at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canada Junior championship being held at North Bay Memorial Gardens.
North Bay Trappers netminder Greg Dodds stopped all but one of the 50 shots he faced to backstop his club to a 4-1 triumph over the Wilderness Tuesday evening.
The Trappers would notch the lone goal of the opening period as Connor Gilmartin broke free following a face-off in the Trappers end as he sped up the right side before cutting to his left and deking Gordy Defiel in the Wilderness net while tucking the puck into the open side at 11:18.
North Bay extended their lead early during a man advantage opportunity in the middle frame as Cole Klippenstein unleashed a powerful blast from the left point that beat Defiel cleanly to make it 2-0.
The Wilderness had their best opportunity of the night nine minutes into the session as Joseph Drapluk was thwarted by the glove hand of the North Bay goalkeeper.
The home side continued to flourish as they connected on the power play once again as Brennen Dubchak jammed in a rebound from the side of the net to make it a 3-0 game at 10:29.
The Wilderness dominated the play in the third putting 25 pucks on net and finally solved Dodds with 8:46 remaining as SIJHL rookie of the year Jake Larson fired one from the right face-off circle during a power play.
In the late going -- with Defiel on the bench in favor of an extra attacker -- the Trappers' Tait Seguin iced with an empty net effort with 1:03 to go.
Beau Orser chipped in with three assists to aid the offensive cause for North Bay.
In the end it was no surprise that Dodds was named his team's player of the game while Larson earned the nod for the Wilderness in a contest that saw the final shots on goal finish 50-21 in favor of the SIJHL side.
Round robin play continues Wednesday as the Wilderness take on the Soo Thunderbirds (0-1) at 2:30 p.m., as the Pine Journal went to press, followed by North Bay meeting the St. Michael's Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (1-0) at 7 p.m. back at Memorial Gardens.
Visit www.pinejournal.com for Wednesday game results.
St. Michael's 4, Soo 2
North Bay 4, Minnesota 1
Soo vs. Minnesota, 2:30 p.m.
St. Michael's vs. North Bay, 7 p.m.
Minnesota vs. St. Michael's, 2:30 p.m.
North Bay vs. Soo, 7 p.m.
Semifinal: 2nd round robin vs. 3rd round robin 7 p.m.
Final: 1st round robin vs. Semifinal winner 7 p.m.