RED LAKE, Ont. – The Dryden Ice Dogs are a win away from their first Superior International Junior Hockey League championship in nearly a decade.
The Ice Dogs on Tuesday night pounded the host English River Miners 8-2 to take a stranglehold on the best-of-seven series, which they now lead three games to none.
Affiliate player Matthew Pitchenese scored twice and added an assist for Dryden, who cruised to a first-place finish during the regular season and have won seven straight to open the playoffs.
Jacen Bracko, Braeden Allkins, Derek McPhail, Garrett Graham, Nic Noseworthy and Garrett Giertuga added singles for the Ice Dogs, who can clinch their third SIJHL title on Thursday night on the road.
Dryden scored three in the first, but the Miners stormed back to within a goal with back-to-back tallies in the second, Michael Di Lullo scoring his first of the series at 12:04, followed by Dante Raposo’s third of the playoffs less than three minutes later.
Sensing a comeback might be imminent, the Dryden offence went into high gear, turning a 3-2 nail-biter into a 7-2 laugher in the final 3:01 of the middle stanza.
Allkins started the offensive explosion at 16:59. Thirty-eight seconds later McPhail put one past Michael Lenko in the English River net. Twelves seconds after that it was Bracko’s turn, then at 18:21 Pitchenese netted his second of the night, chasing Lenko from the Miners net.
Patrick Zubick made 28 stops for the Ice Dogs.