April 1, 2021
Dryden, ON

In a pivotal game two of the quarter-final series at Dryden between  the hometown Ice Dogs and the visiting Fort Frances Lakers,  it was the Dogs that skated away with the victory to take a stranglehold in the best-of-five series with a chance to close it out Friday at Fort Frances.

Just like in Tuesday’s series opener, the Dryden side had to rely heavily on their penalty killing to get the job done.  The Fort Frances power play – despite moving the puck well at times – has done little to cause the Ice Dogs any concern over playing shorthanded.

Thursday night, the Lakers power play scored once in ten opportunities, including five minutes of straight power play time in the first period.  They also allowed a shorthanded goal.  In the series opener they went 0 for eleven.

Dryden had one power play goal – courtesy of Brady Frattinger to open the game’s scoring –  in two opportunities

Just past the midway point of the opening frame, Frattinger was rewarded for driving hard to the net when Ice Dogs’ captain Cameron Ware put a nice centring pass right on his tape and chipped it past Laker’s netminder Ethan Hein.

It would be the only scoring of the first period.  Shots were 12-5 in favour of the Ice Dogs.

Through the first half of the second period, it looked as though the Lakers would be able to keep the game within striking distance into the third.  But three goals in under four minutes in the back half of the period would send Fort Frances to the dressing room with a nearly insurmountable deficit.

First it was defenceman Lane Snell, shorthanded at 13:16, who intercepted a long breakout pass in the neutral zone and navigated the puck through multiple Lakers defenders into a 2-on-0 break.  He chose to keep and fire, beating Hein low blocker from the hash mark.

Less than two minutes later it was Bryce Benfield with some nifty work below the goal line who corralled his own centering pass attempt and stuffed it past Hein.

Finally, less than 2 minutes after Benfield’s tally, Branden Hill walked  down the boards after an Ice Dogs’ face-off win and placed a perfect shot under the bar, beating Hein on the glove side to put the home side up 4-0.

All told, the three goals came in a span of 3:37.

The Ice Dogs shelled the Lakers with 25 shots in the frame.  Fort Frances managed 10 on Dryden.

In the final stanza, it was Fort Frances’ Ty Milgate who would break the goose egg for the game (and series) at 2:28.

On the power play, Lakers’ Ian Kimble hammered a hard one-timer off the left wing.  Dryden netminder Cole Johnson came across nicely to make the save, but in doing so, slid out of his crease.  The rebound would come off the end boards and back in front to Milgate, who shovelled it into the open net.

Brad Arnott also drew an assist on the play.

Final shots were 63-24.

Three stars of the game were:
#1: Cole Johnson, G, Dryden with 24 saves on 25 shots.
#2 Lane Snell, D, Dryden with 1 goal, 1 assist.
#3 Brady Frattinger, F, Dryden, also with 1 goal and 1 assist.

The series shifts to Fort Frances for game three Friday night, 7:30pm, Ice For Kids Arena.