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Kam River Fighting Walleye Captain Anthony Oviedo triumphantly raises the Bill Salonen Cup following the Walleye's 5-4 Game 7 victory over the Thunder Bay North Stars (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

Fighting Walleye become SIJHL champs

By Adam Riley May 4, 2023 | 1:38 AM

The Kam River Fighting Walleye have won their first ever Bill Salonen Cup after defeating the Thunder Bay North Stars 5-4 in Game 7 showdown that packed the Norwest Arena in Oliver Paipoonge.

Captain Anthony Oviedo says he knew this year was Kam River’s year, but he also knew it would be a tough battle.

“I had a feeling it was going to be a long series, I didn’t expect a Game 7  but I’m more than happy it went to 7 and we’re here with the championship.”

The game started out with a goal by Thunder Bay North Star Dylan Bertrand, picking up his first of the playoffs.

But Kam River would come back with three goals between the first and second periods before North Stars forward Edison Weeks was able to begin closing the gap.


Players and staff of the Kam River Fighting Walleye celebrate their first ever SIJHL championship win with a group photo (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)

The third period, specifically the first 12 minutes of it, was where Fighting Walleye Head Coach Geoff Walker says he had the most pride for his players.

“The way we were reloading, getting pucks deep, above it. Its all those things that we’ve been talking about for like six, seven months now right, and to see it on full display in the biggest moments, it was really satisfying.”

But Walker also gave credit where credit was due to the North Stars, who despite their best efforts, including a final goal with 7 seconds left on the clock, fell short 5-4.

“No quit in that group, down 3-1, then almost come back here tonight. I think Campbell and Feist and those guys probably played the last six, seven minutes, and Halushak, credit to those boys, but super happy we came out on the winning end of this.”

The Fighting Walleye will now rest up for a few days before heading out to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, where they will compete for the Centennial Cup starting on May 11th.

Among those in the crowd was Oliver Paipoonge Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis who will be in Thunder Bay city council chambers Monday, to fulfill a bet made with Mayor Ken Boshcoff. (Adam Riley / Acadia Broadcasting)



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