By Michael Christianson
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs are well on their way to bringing the Bill Salonen cup back home after two games at the Dryden Memorial Arena last weekend.
Game one got underway Friday night before a crowd of 917 hockey fans cheering on the Dogs and their competition the English River Miners.
Chris Atanas got the first goal of the finals off an assist from Matthew Pitchenese and Braedan Allkins just under six minutes into the first period. The hard fought game stayed 1-0 after one period.
Over halfway through the second period without another goal and tensions rising Miner Terix Fischer-Kobes took a run at Mark Ziobro and boarded him; from there all hell broke loose.
“It was a play on the wall there, a dirty hit and teammate so you have to step in and do something right?” said Pitchenese. “He’s a little guy against a bigger guy so I jumped in and did what I had to do for the team.”
The scuffle continued for quite some time before everyone was pulled apart and penalties were decided.
From English River Tyrell Bourk went two for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct. Sam Cirone and Colton Johnson each got five for fighting and a game misconduct while Fischer-Kobes went for boarding and a 10-minute misconduct.
From the Dryden GM Ice Dogs Pitchenese went five for fighting and a game misconduct. Jake Gushue and Ziobro also got the same penalties but after the game Gushue was suspended four games for his actions in Friday’s contest and an additional automatic four games, as per the CJHL Supplement, for accumulation of major penalties/game misconducts for fighting during the 2016-17 season.
Gushue will miss the next eight games be it the remainder of the Bill Salonen Cup final and/or the Dudley-Hewitt Cup or the RBC Cup.
Ziobro was suspended three games for his actions under the CJHL Supplement and will miss Games 2, 3 & 4 of the Bill Salonen Cup Final.
Cirone was also suspended six games, two for his actions and four for accumulation of majors.
After the delay Allkins scored on the powerplay to get Dryden up by two.
On their own power play English River answered back with a goal from Austin Kuhn.
Before the end of the second Trey Palermo added another to go up 3-1 after forty minutes.
In the third period Braedyn Aubin scored unassisted and as the goal was being announced English River scored again.
Down two goals the Miners pulled their goalie and it was Aubin who scored unassisted for the second time that period.
The Dogs would win 5-2 outshooting English River 47-31.
The next night the two teams were back on the ice for game two of the finals.
Just over halfway through the first period English River got the game’s opening goal off a shot from Kuhn; the only goal of the first frame.
The second period belonged to the Ice Dogs as they fought back to score three goals from Derek McPhail, Allkins and Kristopher Hamlin.
The third period was evenly matched and scoreless to secure a 3-1 Ice Dogs victory.
The Ice Dogs were up in Red Lake to play game 3 on Tuesday, the results of which were not available at press time.
Game four is set for Thursday in Red Lake and if needed game 5 will be in Dryden on April 22.