The Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) Flames cut the Keystone Junior Hockey League leading Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) Storm's points advantage in the standings from five down to one with a pair of home wins in Nelson House and Thompson Jan. 3-4.
The Storm remain at 26 points while the Flames improved from 21 to 25 with the victories.
Keith Blacksmith's second goal of the third period proved to be the winner as the Flames prevailed 7-5 in Nelson House on Friday night. His first put his team up 4-3. Albert Berard gave the Flames a two-goal advantage before Corbin Umpherville of the Storm reduced the lead back down to one prior to Blacksmith netting the winner. Bryson Werbicki-Mallet again drew OCN within one on a power play goal with seven minutes to play but Michael Markus ensured a Flames’ victory with his team’s seventh goal about three minutes later.
Werbicki-Mallet scored the only goal of the second period to make it a 3-3 game after Jerome Linklater, Trent North and Henry Muchikekwanape scored in the first period for NCN, with Dion Fontaine scoring twice for the Storm.
Shots in the game were 46-32 for the Flames, who got 27 saves from goaltender Braedin Melsted.
Markus got the game-winner in the rematch Jan. 4 in Thompson, scoring on a power play early in the third period to put NCN up 4-1 before Jerome Linklater’s second of the contest increased the lead to four goals. Noah Butler and Sheldon Chartier responded for the Storm but Keistin Saunders sealed the deal with an empty-netter in the final minute for a 6-3 Flames win.
Muchikekwanape had the only goal of the second period. Lance Laycock opened the scoring in the first period before Linklater’s first of the game made it 2-0. Chavez Constant of the Storm cut the lead to one late in the first period.
Shots in the game were 60-36 for NCN. Melsted made 33 saves for the win.
The Flames are on the road this weekend to take on the Norway House North Stars, who have only won one of 17 games so far this season.