THUNDER BAY – The Dryden Ice Dogs hold a two point lead over the North Stars going into tonight’s game. The Stars are hosting the Ice Dogs for two games at the Fort William Gardens.
Over the past weeks the rest of the SIJHL has chased the league leading Minnesota Wilderness who are leading the league with 38 points. The Ice Dogs are currently in second place and the North Stars are hoping this weekend to take back that position.
The North Stars are starting Jayme Brattengeier in net, the goaltender had a shoulder injury a few games back but through the warm-ups and in the early going is looking sharp.
Tonight’s game has two linesmen and two referees.
The early going is solid end to end action – The N-Stars are making very crisp and fast line changes.
North Stars scoring leader Matt Kaarela at 3:55 got the gate for a two minute minor for slashing. That puts the Ice Dogs on the power play.
Dryden got several solid chances with the puck bouncing like a tennis ball in the front of the North Stars net.
With five seconds left in the Kaarela penalty #25 Jesse Linner got two minutes for tripping at 5;51.
Dylan Mascarin got the box with 51 seconds left in the power play putting the teams at even strength. The two referee system seems to have the officials feeling they need to call a lot of penalties.
Dryden is doing a good job of moving the puck around in the North Stars end. The Ice Dogs got off a great scoring chance but were held off the board by a great pad save by Jayme Brattengeier.
Cory Lacosse got off on a great scoring chance as he flipped the puck past the Dryden winger and came in on net. Only a great save by an alert Dryden netminder Eric Szymczyk kept the score at 0-0.
Dryden scored taking the lead on a pretty goal by #17 Austin Lewis assisted by #16 Chris Belhumeur and #24 at 12:45
The North Stars are on the power play, for the second time tonight the Ice Dogs are being told by the referee not to make extra line-changes.
The North Stars seem to be focused on getting a player in the box. At 18:51 Isaac Howarth was called for slashing. That led to a very fast goal by Dryden as Paul Thompson scored assisted by Wilgosh.
Score at the end of the First Period: Dryden Ice Dogs 2 Thunder Bay North Stars 0
Shots on Goal: Thunder Bay North Stars 15 Dryden Ice Dogs 9
Second Period Action
The puck has dropped for the second period of action, and the N-Stars wasted little time getting back on track with a power-play goal scored by # 28 Trevor Hynnes assisted by Dylan Mascarin and Kristopher Kellaway . Time of the goal 1:14.
The goal has fired up the North Stars who have been pressing. Play is end to end, with both teams getting chances.
Dryden has taken the lead on a goal scored by #20Rory Court assisted by #25 Jesse Linner and #24 Ryan Wilcox . The goal came after an end to end rush that started in the Dryden end as the North Stars almost scored. The Ice Dogs zoomed down the ice putting the move on the goaltender and being rewarded with the goal.
North Stars are headed to the power play as #7 Mike Butler was nailed for hooking at 7:31.
North Stars Kristopher Kellaway was hit by a shot and left the ice in obvious pain and somewhat hobbled.
Mitchell Fox also left the ice after fanning on a shot, and then hitting the ice the only injury however was to his stick as he smashed it onto the bench.
At 13:50 the Ice Dogs return to the sin bin with #5 getting the box for hooking. The North Stars are taking it to the Ice Dogs but not getting the puck past the Dryden netminder.
Toward the end of the period, tempers flared and the fists flew as both teams are showing each other they really don’t like each other. Mitchell Fox of the North Stars and Mike Butler of the Ice Dogs were tagged with five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct.
Score after two periods: Dryden leads the North Stars by a 3-1 margin.
Third Period Action
Third period is underway, the Ice Dogs hit the net early to take a 4-1 lead putting the North Stars behind by three and leaving them a big hole to dig out of.
The Dryden goal was scored by #12 Cole Sonstebo assisted by #25 Jesse Linner and #27 Paul Thompson.
The North Stars are playing better than the scoreboard shows but are often getting off one more pass rather than a shot on net.
The North Stars are leading in shots on net by seven, but trailing where it counts.
The three goal deficit has the N-Stars forced to take more chances to work their way back into the game. That has led to several scoring chances for the Ice Dogs. It also has the Dryden team growing in confidence as play continues in the game.
That play has the refs grabbing the whistle a little more, #24 Bryce Maggrah for the North Stars and #24 for the Ice Dogs each getting minors. Penalties at 8:10.
That was quickly followed by #22 Jerid Adamson for interference at 8:15. It will be hard to come back from the position of being short handed.
#27 Paul Thompson for Dryden was leveled in a super hit by #14 Mascarin of the North Stars at the halfway mark of the period.
The play is getting a little more physical, #21 of the North Stars, Bryce Martyn was sent off for elbowing at 13:01. It was a hit at centre ice that leveled the Ice Dog player who was looking the other way.
The march to the penalty box continued with 6:24 left in the period as Dryden was Lewis was tagged for roughing and the North Stars Hynnes tagged for slashing. Time 13:36 for the penalties.
The final score tonight in a physical but unrewarding game for North Stars is a 4-1 loss on home ice.
The Dryden Ice Dog are assured of leaving Thunder Bay still in second place.