Led by Daniel Del Paggio’s natural hat trick, the Lakehead Thunderwolves defeated the Nipissing Lakers 5-2 in front of 1,789 fans at the Fort William Gardens on Friday night.
Del Paggio notched his first goal just 5:45 into the game with a blast that tipped off the glove of Lakers’ goalie Jeremy Pominville and into the net, with Scott Gall assisting. He added a second marker from the edge of crease with 3:05 left in the opening period, with the helper going to Jordan Larson.
Nipissing took advantage of a power play opportunity early in the middle stanza when Zach Moody finished off an odd-man rush by beating Wolves’ netminder Nic Renyard high on the blocker side.
Del Paggio got his third goal of the night less than two minutes later by outwaiting Pominville and going top shelf to restore Lakehead’s two-goal cushion.
Jordan King extended the Wolves’ lead 3:42 into the final frame when he knocked home a loose puck after a goalmouth scramble, with the assists going to Gall and Daniel McKitrick.
Nipissing’s Gael Lubwele narrowed the gap to 4-2 when he fired a hard shot from the face-off circle that eluded Renyard low on the glove side at 11:11.
The Lakers pulled Pominville for an extra attacker with less than two minutes left on the clock, but Lakehead’s Sam Schutt squashed Nipissing's comeback bid with a shot from behind his own blue line that went straight into the empty cage.
For the night, the Thunderwolves were 0-for-5 on the power play, while the Lakers went 1-for-5.
Total shots on goal in the game were 50-23 in Lakehead’s favor.
The Molson Three Stars of the game were:
- Daniel Del Paggio, Lakehead
- Scott Gall, Lakehead
- Nic Renyard, Lakehead
The Wolves will look to gain a weekend sweep when they take on the Lakers again tomorrow night beginning at 7:00 pm.