March 30, 2022
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs made their intentions known early and often on Tuesday night, lengthening their playoff winning streak against the visiting Fort Frances Lakers to four games dating back to March of 2019, and perhaps putting the Lakers on alert that there may be more where that came from.
The Ice Dogs converted a strong start into a 3-0 lead before the game was barely 12 minutes old, and didn’t look back from there en route to a 5-0 victory on home ice to take a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five affair.
The Lakers couldn’t capitalize on an early man-advantage courtesy of an interference call to former Laker captain Nakoda Thunderchief, acquired by the Ice Dogs at this year’s trade deadline.
But it would take the home side just 21 seconds with the extra attacker with Cameron Ware redirecting a Jordan Gagnon point shot to claim an early 1-0 lead.
Minutes later, courtesy of a Fort Frances bench minor for too-many-men, it was Ware again for his second of the game this time using his big body to dig out a loose puck in the crease and push it underneath Lakers’ goalie Ethan Hein.
The time of the goal was 11:02 and assists went to Tristan Takats and Gagnon again with his second of the night.
Sixty-nine seconds later, Tyler Earl continued his productive play of late to round out the first period scoring. Thunderchief corralled a rebound off a Jackson Jacques point shot and slid it across the crease to Earl who made no mistake. It was the first goal of the night at even strength, and the Ice Dogs took the 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
Dryden held a dominant 20-2 advantage in shots in the opening frame.
Fort Frances, struggling to generate much offence at even strength, tried to keep the game within striking distance in the middle frame. Despite still lopsided shot totals, they did manage to keep Dryden off the scoreboard for the most part.
That is until the Ice Dogs struck twice within 21 seconds in the waning minutes of the second to effectively put the game out of reach.
First it was Derek Koivisto finishing off a nice two-on-one passing play with Brady Frattinger at 17:02, and quickly followed up by Thunderchief who banged in a loose puck off a scramble in the crease. Frattinger and Ware earned helpers on the play.
That would mark the end of the scoring for the night, but it would be more than enough for the Ice Dogs to prevail in the opening game and take a 1-0 series lead.
Final shots were 46-16. Dryden went 2-5 with the man advantage, while Fort Frances was held scoreless in 11 opportunities.
Three stars were:
#1 Cole Johnston, G, Dryden, 16-save shutout
#2 Cameron Ware, F, Dryden, 2G 1A
#3 Jackson Jacques, D, Dryden, 1A
The series will take a break before resuming tomorrow night, March 31, back at Dryden Memorial Arena. Puck drop will be 7:30pm.