By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – Mother Nature secured a 6-4 win over the SIJHL with six out of 10 games canceled due to stormy weather. Apparently, the Dryden GM Ice Dogs are good with the snow, amassing seven out of eight points in their quest to catch Kam River.
Fort Frances fired head coach Paul MacLean and hired assistant coach Tyler Miller to take over the reins.
Dryden 5 @ Thunder Bay 3, Tue Dec 13, Dryden 3 @ Thunder Bay 2 Wed Dec 14
Eric Clark pitched a shutout in relief, and Max Roby scored his 8th goal in 10 games as the visiting Dryden GM Ice Dogs defeated the Thunder Bay North Stars 5-3.
Dryden took three one-goal leads and surrendered them all until Roby struck late in the third and Landen Stromme added an insurance marker into an empty cage with 29 seconds left for Dryden’s 14th win against seven losses. Thunder Bay fell below .600 with their seventh loss.
The teams traded goals throughout the game.
Kaden Bandura scored his first of the year at 5:59 for a 1-0 Dryden lead. Noah Broughton notched his 7th at 12:03 to tie it up. Ben Hackl’s 5th, three minutes later put the Ice Dogs up 2-1 through 20.
Thunder Bay’s Evan Lachimea tallied his first goal in his first game on a 2-on-1 to knot the score. Stromme’s first of the game from the slot had the visitors up by a goal. Edison Weeks scored short-handed, ripping a tough angle shot past Zac MacDonald to make it 3-3.
Dryden head coach Kurt Walsten switched MacDonald for Clark at 7:07 of the second. The North Stars fired 31 shots the rest of the way but Clark stopped them all for his 9th win of the season.
Keenan Marks stopped 43 of 47, suffering his first regulation loss of the year.
Only five minor penalties were called. The Gardens attracted 310 fans.
In Wednesday’s game Dryden nursed a two-goal lead through 57 minutes before three quick goals made the game interesting.
Max Roby’s shot from the high slot late in the first put the Dogs up 1-0.
After a scoreless second, Tyler Earl took advantage of a North Star giveaway to put the Dogs up 2-0.
Connor Lemieux stopped Dryden’s Ben Hackl on a shorthanded breakaway with time winding down to set up a wild finish.
Matt Halushak’s 6th of the year from the top of the right circle broke Eric Clark’s shutout bid at 16:55 to put the Stars down just a goal.
Thunder Bay took Lemieux out for an extra attacker but Kaden Bandura’s empty net effort made it 3-1. Before you could say “seal the deal” Nolan Desjardins collected a loose puck and deposited it into a wide open net with 25 seconds left.
Dryden successfully killed off regulation time to claim the win.
Dryden was 0-5 and Thunder Bay 0-6 on the powerplay. The North Stars are 2-41 in their recent power plays.
Eric Clark stopped 25 of 27, while Lemieux handled 32 of 34.
Fort Frances @ Wisconsin, Wed Dec 14 Postponed
Red Lake 12-10-04 GF 93 GA 91 @ Kam River 21-5-1 GF 110 GA 73 Fri/Sat/Sun Dec 16-18 Postponed
Wisconsin @ Thunder Bay, Fri/Sat Dec 16/17 Postponed
Sioux Lookout 0 @ Dryden 3 Fri Dec 16, Dryden 1 @ Sioux Lookout 2 (OT) Sat Dec 17.
Easton Debray’s point shot at 8:37 of the first period proved to be the game winner, as the Ice Dogs defeated the Bombers 3-0 before 392 patrons in Dryden. Debray’s powerplay wrister from distance made it through traffic, eluding Jake Manners.
Eric Clark secured his first shutout win, turning aside 38 shots. His numbers improved to 11-5-0 with 2.65 GAA and .915 SV%.
Sioux Lookout failed to score in 12 powerplay chances. An even 100 penalty minutes were assessed by Will Cox and Jon Kocis–57 to Dryden. Dryden was 1-5 with the man advantage.
After a scoreless second, James Hooton notched his 12th at 10:42 of the third, collecting a wild bounce off the end boards and firing it in for a 2-0 Ice Dog lead.
Ben Hackl’s empty net shorthanded effort 160 feet from the Bomber net split the uprights to render the final score.
Jake Manners had a fine effort in the Bomber net, shunting 40 of 42 away from danger.
Dryden’s fourth consecutive win puts them 11 points back of the first-place Kam River Fighting Walleye with four games in hand.
In Saturday’s game–the only SIJHL contest of the night–Graeme Patrick scored at 1:00 of overtime for a 2-1 Sioux Lookout win.
Powerplay goals figured prominently.
Brady Frattinger converted a centering feed from Max Roby on a Dryden powerplay at 11:29 of the second period for a 1-0 lead.
Nolan Palmer’s one-timer from the point beat Eric Clark cleanly on the glove side for a Sioux Lookout powerplay marker at 6:54 of the third to tie it up.
In three-on-three overtime, Patrick’s backhander beat Clark blocker side to send the home team to their 15th win against 11 losses and third place in the standing.
Frattinger, Palmer and Patrick all notched their 5th goals of the season. Jake Manners improved to 12-8-0 in the Bomber net, while Clark stopped 42 shots in a losing cause.
Both teams were 1-6 with the extra man. Dryden had 28 minutes in the bin, while Sioux Lookout, aided by two 10-minute misconducts at game end, had 46.
Both Dryden and Sioux Lookout hit the 100-goal plateau.
The 360 in attendance at The Hangar were treated to a close game with a playoff atmosphere.