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SIJHL Showcase begins tonight in Hoyt Lakes

HOYT LAKES, Minn. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League’s annual Showcase gets underway this evening at Hoyt Lakes Arena as the event host Minnesota Iron Rangers take on the English River Miners at 7 p.m.

That contest be the first of five games that will be held over the course of a three-day period with each of the match-ups counting towards the league standings.

All games at Hoyt Lakes Arena

Tuesday, Jan. 27
English River Miners vs. Minnesota Iron Rangers 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 28
Fort Frances Lakers vs. English River Miners 3:30 p.m.
Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. Thunder Bay North Stars 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 29
Thunder Bay North Stars vs. Fort Frances Lakers 3:30 p.m.
Minnesota Iron Rangers vs. Dryden GM Ice Dogs 7 p.m.

THE TEAMS: A look of the five SIJHL Showcase teams

DRYDEN GM ICE DOGS: Enters the Showcase fourth in the SIJHL standings with a 19-17-0-2 record … Have gone 6-4 in their past 10 … Leading Dryden offensively in standout forward Cole Golka, who not only leads the GM Ice Dogs in scoring, but also top all skaters in the league. … Golka has a league-best 62 points and also leads the team and league in goals with 37. …He is also tied for second in the SIJHL in game-winning goals with four and third in man advantage markers with 10. … Two Dryden forwards sit in the top five in league scoring as Matt Houston sits second on the squad and third in the league with 51 points while Jonathon Philley in fourth in SIJHL offensive production with 50 points. … Netminder Tate Sproxton leads all SIJHL netminders in wins with 13.

ENGLISH RIVER MINERS: Winners of three straight, English River enters the Showcase on a bit of a roll. … The Miners are fifth in the league at 9-27-0-4. … Leading the offensive push for the club is forward Dominic Blouin. He has a team-high 33 points on a dozen tallies and 21 helpers. … Taylor Bargar sits second on the Miners with 25 points, including eight goals. … Rookie Alex Maticic is third with 22 points. The latest SIJHL player of the week recipient is the second youngest player in the league and has scored 11 times and set-up 11 others to date. … Goaltender Greg Harney leads all league stoppers in saves with 953 and minutes played at just under 1,553. … Fellow English River stopper P.D. Melgoza has won two straight starts.

FORT FRANCES LAKERS: The hottest team in the SIJHL are the Lakers. … They have won 12 straight games and boast a league-best 29-7-0-1 record. … They have also posted an impressive 19-2 mark since Nov. 1. … The defending Bill Salonen Cup champions and 2015 Dudley-Hewitt Cup hosts are currently 10th in the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings. … Leading the Lakers in points is veteran forward Mason Meyer with 46. … Wyatt Cota is next with 45. … Despite only skating in 21 games since rejoining the club, Lucas DeBenedet is third on the squad with 35 points. …Fort Frances forwards Colton Spicer and Bowen Alcock lead the league in game-winning goals with five apiece. …Miles Nolan shares the SIJHL-lead in power play tallies with 12. … Since joining the Lakers in mid-December goaltender Nathan Park has gone 5-0 with a stingy 1.09 goals-against average and stellar .968 save percentage along with two shutouts. … Another December addition in goalkeeper Pierce Dushenko has gone 6-1 in seven appearances.

MINNESOTA IRON RANGERS: The Showcase host Iron Rangers are third in the SIJHL with a 19-14-5 mark. … With three games in hand on second place Thunder Bay, Minnesota is second in the league in winning percentage at .566. … The Iron Rangers trio of Evan Erickson, Jason Reynolds and Thomas Fazio sit one-two-three respectively with 49, 47 and 37 points. … Reynolds 20 goals ties him for fifth in the league and the Northland College commit is also knotted for fifth in assists in the SIJHL with 27. … Erickson’s 34 helpers are the second most in the league. … Fazio’s four shorthanded efforts tie him for the most in the SIJHL. … Noah Anderson tops all SIJHL defencemen in scoring with 34 points. … Goaltender Kyle Carignan’s 11 wins tie him for second overall in the SIJHL.

THUNDER BAY NORTH STARS: The North Stars are second in the SIJHL at the moment at 21-16-4, but have only gone 3-6-1 in their past 10 outings. … Veteran forward Matthias Gardiman leads Thunder Bay offensively with 55 points. His 39 assists paces the SIJHL. … Brandon Wolframe is next on the squad in scoring with 43 points, which ties him for ninth overall. He is also in the top 10 in the league in goals, assists, man advantage efforts and game-winners. …With 23 goals to his credit, Nicholas Nigro is third in the league in tallies. … Nigro also shares the SIJHL-lead in power play markers with 12. … Bradley Belisle tops all SIJHL rookies in scoring. The Bemidji State recruit has 33 points to his credit after 42 games. … Captain Kris Kellaway is tied for the league-lead in shorthanded goals with four. … Netminder Eric Mann is tied for second in the league in wins with 11 while Nathaniel is fifth with eight.

FASTHOCKEY: Each of the SIJHL Showcase games can be viewed online on a pay-per-view basis at www.fasthockey.com.

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