DRYDEN – SPORTS – The Dryden GM Ice Dogs got two goals from their offensive leader Braeden Allkins to help them to a 7-3 victory over the English River Miners Thursday and capture the Bill Salonen Cup Superior International Junior Hockey League championship at Cochenour Arena.
The GM Ice Dogs take the best-of-seven final in four straight games and will now move on to represent the SIJHL at the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian Jr. A Championship, May 2-6, in Trenton, Ont.
Thursday’s contest did see English River come out quickly, notching the night’s opening tally 44 seconds into the contest after breaking out of their own zone where Dante Raposo saucered a pass over to Austin Kuhn on the right side, who skated in a snapped the first shot of the game past Dryden starter Patrick Zubick.
Dryden countered with the equalizer at 4:06 with Nic Noseworthy redirecting a left point blast from Tristan Knott that changed direction and eluded Michael Lenko in the Miners’ net.
The SIJHL’s most valuable player in Allkins put the GM Ice Dogs in front four minutes later as was the trailer on a play where the puck found him open in front as he lifted in the go ahead effort past a sprawled Lenko.
English River would draw level at 17:36 of the first thanks to a Raposo power play marker, only see to Allkins strike again just 30 seconds later to put the visitors back in front.
The GM Ice Dogs would double the lead to 4-2 in the latter stages of the middle stanza right off a clean face-off win by Jacen Bracko that was quickly wired by Derek Phail, who blasted a hard shot past Lenko at 17:02.
A free-wheeling start to the third period saw the home side pull to within 4-3 compliments of Colton Johnson, but Dryden connected quickly yet again with Matt Leniuk supplying his first of the playoffs a mere 14 seconds after that before the stanza was a minute old.
The GM Ice Dogs added some insurance midway through the final frame connecting moments after another face-off win as Cory Dennis snapped one from the right point that sailed through a crowd and founds its way into the back of the net.
Down by three with five minutes to go, the Miners pulled their goaltender in an effort to get back into it, but Noseworthy secured Dryden’s third SIJHL title in their 16-year history to finish things off.
The GM Ice Dogs held the edge in shots by a 40-28 count with Zubick posting his eighth straight playoff victory for the GM Ice Dogs while Lenko suffered the season-ending loss for English River.
SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup Final (Series D)
No. 1 Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. No. 3 English River Miners
Dryden wins best-of-seven series 4-0
Game 1: Dryden 5 English River 2
Game 2: Dryden 3 English River 1
Game 3: Dryden 8 English River 2
Game 4: Dryden 7 English River 3