A weekend sweep created some space between third place Thief River Falls and fourth place English River in the Superior International Junior Hockey League point standings.
The Norskies notched a come-from-behind 6-5 shoot-out win over the Miners Saturday night at the Cardin-Hunt Arena in Red Lake Falls and followed that with a 3-0 victory in a Sunday rematch at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Thief River Falls came out of the weekend with 37 points in the SIJHL standings while English River sits at 30.
The Norskies are working on a current five-game winning streak that has pushed their record to 16-17. They will play at Fort Frances Friday, then return home to host the league-leading Dryden GM Ice Dogs in a Saturday-Sunday series at the REA.
Saturday, Thief River Falls trailed English River 5-2 heading into the third period, but rallied to tie it on goals by Connor Smith at 4:08, Blair Lindholm at 5:24 and Smith again at 9:05.
A five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period failed to break the tie, so the game went into a five-round shoot-out.
English River struck first on a marker by No. 1 shooter Sidney Gladue.
That was the only shoot-out goal allowed by Thief River Falls netminder Kross Braaten, who came on in relief of starter Ryan Buttazzoni in the second period.
It took the Norskies three shooters to even things on a goal by Smith.
Cody Aarvig got the game-winning in Round 4.
The Norskies’ Alec Daman opened the scoring at 14:05 of the first period and Smith began a hat trick performance by scoring with just 47 seconds left in the second period – a goal that kicked off the Thief River Falls comeback.
It was the first win in four shoot-out situations for the Norskies.
Kole Comin and Austin Kuhn had two-goal games for the Miners.
Braaten got the start Sunday day and recorded the first shutout for the first-year Norskies. His 26-save effort was just the fourth shutout of the season in the SIJHL, and the first time anyone other than last place Minnesota was been held off the scoreboard.
Thief River Falls struck for first period goals by Jared Pederson at 15:03 and Keaton Huot at 19:23.
The Norskies tacked on a third period goal by Blair Lindholm.
TRF 6, English River 5
First period – TRF, Alec Daman, 14:05; ER, Austin Kuhn (Sidney Gladue), 15:26; ER, Kole Comin (Jamie Driedger, Kuhn), 17:46; ER, Dwayne Auger (Terix Fischer-Kobes), 19:26.
Second period – ER, Kuhn (Driedger, Comin), 10:17; ER, Comin (Driedger, Kuhn), 18:57; TRF, Connor Smith, 19:13.
Third period – TRF, Smith, 4:08; TRF, Blair Lindholm (Logan Jackson, Keaton Huot), 5:24; TRF, Smith (Dylan Dix), 9:05.
Shoot-out – (Round 1) Sidney Gladue, ER; (Round 3) Connor Smith, TRF; (Round 4) Cody Aarvig, TRF.
Goalie saves – TRF, Ryan Buttazzoni 23; Kross Braaten 16; ER, Spencer Eschyschyn 41.
Penalties – TRF, 12 (26 minutes); ER, 15 (30 minutes).
Attendance – 578.
TRF 3, English River 0
First period – TRF, Jared Pederson (Peter Grytdahl, Parker Simonson), 15:03; TRF, Keaton Huot (Simonson, Michael Johnson), 19:23.
Third period – TRF, Blair Lindholm (Tommy Stang, Jack Dunnell), 10:58.
Goalie saves – TRF, Kross Braaten 26; ER, Spencer Eschyschyn 36.
Penalties – TRF 15 (29 minutes); ER, 17 (38 minutes).
Attendance – 788.