By Michael Christianson
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs playoffs are off and rolling but before the game at home on Wednesday night the team paid tribute to their long serving captain Derek McPhail.
The Dogs officially retired McPhail’s #21 up the rafters before the game, a surprise to the captain.
“That was an awesome gesture; I thank everybody in the community that made that possible,” said McPhail “I certainly won’t forget that for the rest of my life, nothing but good things to say about this community everybody is awesome.”
One minute into the game McPhail got the games opening goal.
The score remained 1-0 until Brandon Zajicek scored with 36 second left in the opening period to get Fort Frances on the board.
Just over five minutes into the second period McPhail got his team ahead again. Garret Graham got his first of the playoffs off assists from Woody Galbraith and Jake Gushue.
Jack Bernie scored for Fort Frances minutes later but Gushue answered back with a goal of his own.
37 seconds later Matt Tustin scored for the Lakers to leave the game at 4-3 after forty minutes.
A game that didn’t see a lot of penalties saw Kristopher Hamlin score on the power play under two minutes into the third. Trey Palermo also added a goal before Fort Frances scored on a power play.
A shaky first game for the Dogs but they came away with the win, outshooting Fort Frances 32-20.
The next night Patrick Zubick was in net again for game two.
With the first game jitters behind them the Dryden GM Ice Dogs rolled over the Lakers 7-1.
The first period saw goals from Palermo, Gushue, Chris Atanas and Jacen Bracko.
The second period saw three more Ice Dogs goals from Galbraith, Hamlin and Cody Warder got the last goal of the game as the third remained scoreless. The lone goal of the game came from Zajicek in the first period.
The first period of game two saw more penalties than game 1 and Dryden came away with the win outshooting the Lakers 38-21.
On Saturday the teams were down in Fort Frances for game 3.
Braeden Allkins scored his first goals of the playoffs netting two in the first period.
In the second Dylan Kooner got Fort on the board early before Cory Dennis scored on the power play. Braedyn Aubin added another before the end of the second period.
In the third the lone goal came on a power play by Allkins to give him a hat trick in the post season.
Zubick stopped 26 shots as Dryden outshot Fort Frances 41-27.
Game four was played on Tuesday April 4, the results of which were not available at press time. A win means an Ice Dogs sweep of the semi-finals, a loss means they return to Dryden for a game at 7:30 on Friday.