Ice Dogs smother North Stars on road
Something had to give.
Something had to give.
With the Dryden Ice Dogs on a six-game winning streak and the Thunder Bay North Stars unbeaten in four, when the two teams met at Fort William Gardens, one team’s fate was guaranteed to go in the other direction – at least for one night.
Dwight Lee’s second effort midway through the third period ensured it wasn’t Dryden.
Lee, who popped home his own rebound past North Star goalie Guillaume Piche, gave the Ice Dogs a 2-1 win, leapfrogging the Stars into sole possession of second place in the Superior International Junior Hockey League season.
“It’s really important for us just because we have a two-week long break and we want to go into that break with some momentum and actually carry it through until we get back on the ice,” said Dryden goalie Ian Perrier, fresh off claiming SIJHL player of the month honours for November.
Perrier made 26 saves, not many of the ballpark variety, to backstop the Ice Dogs to the win, but wouldn’t take any of the credit.
“You know what, I just want to get the wins,” he said. “The most important statistic a goalie can have is wins, so that’s what I’m focusing on right now.”
The Ice Dogs (22-12-0) haven’t lost back-to-back games since mid-October, he continued, an accomplishment that has the team riding as high as any winning streak could.
“That’s huge for us as a team. It builds a lot of confidence for us and we’re just going to try to keep it going.”
In the face of intense pressure throughout Friday night’s contest, the Ice Dogs did not once quit believing in themselves, calmly sticking to a game plan and never giving up on the play.
It’s what earned them the win, said coach Clint Mylymak.
Tied 1-1 as the third period started its downhill run toward the end of regulation, Lee collected the puck deep within the North Stars zone, skated across the front of Piche’s crease and fired a backhand that the goalie got a piece of, but couldn’t hang on. Lee grabbed the rebound, fired a shot that bounced off Thunder Bay’s Ryan Henley and sailed over the goaltender’s shoulder and into the net.
“That was just going to the net and being persistent with it,” Mylymak said. “It was a good play.”
Tom Kuhn gave Dryden the early lead on the power play half way through the first, a man advantage earned when Thunder Bay’s Matt Valley was assessed four minutes for roughing.
Mitch Marostica, a hero on Monday when he scored the equalizer in the final minute of regulation, evened the score with 1:16 to go in the second.
Mylymak said he expected a low-scoring game from the outset. It always seems to play out that way when the North Stars and Ice Dogs meet.
“It’s just one of the matchups that when we play other teams there are goals, but between us it’s always a battle to win 2-1 or 3-2 and they’re a hard team to compete against. They always wait til the last second,” he said.
Hanging on almost paid off for the Stars in this one.
It appeared the Stars had scored in a goal-mouth scramble, but the officials waved it off, ruling the puck never crossed the line.
North Stars coach Todd Howarth said things just didn’t go their way, particularly on the winning goal.
“Piche made an really unbelievable save, but it bounced to their stick and went into the air. If you looked at it, Piche got back across again and it rolled off the top of his glove and in,” said Howarth, trying to hold back a tirade against the officials for their call on the non-goal.
“I don’t know why you have a goal judge if you’re not going to talk to the judge, because that last one was in.”
The Wolves finished the game on a six-on-four, with Piche on the bench after Dryden was called for too many men on the ice.
But despite a couple of close chances, they were unable to net the equalizer, and were left hoping to exact revenge in Saturday’s rematch.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Scoring: Dryden, Kuhn (Greene, Lee) 9:45 pp. Penalties: Valley TB (double minor, roughing) 8:18.
Scoring: 2. Thunder Bay, Marostica (Zysko, Marsh) 18:44. Penalties: Usiski TB (hooking) 12:48, Greene DRY (cross checking) 16:13.
Scoring: 3. Dryden, Lee (McLellan, Greene) 10:44. Penalties: Galbraith DRY (cross checking), Breukelman TB (cross checking) 9:48, Mitchell DRY, Rempel TB (roughing) 10:36, Pelletier DRY (holding) 15:14, Bench minor DRY (too many men, served by Galbraith) 18:55.
Game Data – SOG – Dryden 3-10-9-22, Thunder Bay 7-13-7-27; Power plays (goals-chances) – Dryden (1-2), Thunder Bay (0-2); Goaltenders – Dryden: Ian Perrier, Thunder Bay: Guillaume Piche; A: 250 (estimated).