By Dryden Observer Staff
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs rode the strength of a Jacen Bracko hat trick to lead his side to a 7-2 triumph over the Fort Frances Lakers Tuesday evening in Game 3 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League semifinal series at Memorial Arena.
With the win, the GM Ice Dogs take a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven match-up heading into Game 4 Thursday night back in Fort Frances at 7:30 p.m.
Dryden picked up the lone tally of the opening frame nine minutes into the contest as Malcolm Huemmert’s stuffed in his initial SIJHL playoff marker off a goal-mouth scramble.
The GM Ice Dogs then went up by two 5:12 into the middle session as they corralled a neutral zone turnover that allowed the visitors to break in on a two-and-one with SIJHL MVP Bracko whistling one past Fort Frances netminder Ismael Ralsten from the left face-off circle.
Using a defender as a screen, Adam Withers put the Lakers on the board with 8:11 remaining in the second as he whipped a shot from the high slot that eluded Jacob Gnidziejko in the Dryden goal.
Bracko added his second of the night in the third as he broke in all along on a shorthanded breakaway and made no mistake at 5:48.
Fort Frances came right back though at the tail end of the same man advantage with Ian Tookenay finishing off a shot from close range.
Ted Davis answered that for the visitors less than a minute later before Bracko finished off his hat trick from close range with a quick deke to his right before putting the puck into the open side for a power play goal.
Huemmert’s second added to the Dryden cushion before Carson Lux capped off the onslaught during a late two-man advantage.
In all six different GM Ice Dogs produced multi-point nights in the one-sided decision.
Gnidziejko made 22 saves to pick up the win while Ismael Ralsten faced 44 shots in a losing cause for the Lakers.
A good start for the Dryden GM Ice Dogs as they take an early two game lead in their semi-final series versus the Fort Frances Lakers.
The two clubs met for game 3, Tuesday in Fort Frances, the results of which were not known at press time.
Saturday’s Game 2 saw a goal and an assist from Trey Palermo to help lift them to a 5-2 triumph over the Lakers.
SIJHL Top Defenceman award recipient Cory Dennis staked the home side to the lead as he notched the lone marker of the opening frame at 13:36.
Palermo added to the Dryden cushion in the middle session before Graham Oliphant made it 3-0 with 43 seconds left in the stanza.
Fort Frances got back into it on the first shift of the third period thanks to Noah Loveday, but the GM Ice Dogs countered a couple shifts later after corralling a loose puck in the slot and getting it over to an open Tristan Simm, who chipped his first league playoff goal over a sprawled Ismael Ralsten in the Lakers’ net.
After Dustin Roitelman brought the visitors back to within two at the tail-end of a five-minute man advantage, Dryden’s Trevor Kavanaugh wrapped up the night’s scoring with a power play effort of his own at 16:34.
The GM Ice Dogs also held the edge in shots by a 30-25 count with Jacob Gnidziejko picking up the win while Ralsten suffered the loss.
On Friday night the defending champion Ice Dogs made a strong opening statement as they dropped the Lakers 7-2 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven semifinal.
It took the GM Ice Dogs just 33 seconds to begin the night’s scoring as rookie Evan Walls notched his first SIJHL playoff marker.
Eric Stout then upped the cushion to two three minutes later.
Regrouping, Fort Frances countered with markers from Ian Jarvis and Adam Withers later in the frame to knot the score at 2-2 after one period of play.
It stayed tied until just past the 12-minute mark of the middle session when Reid Manning buried the eventual game-winner.
Dryden defenceman Brendan Jay added his first at 17:50 as the GM Ice Dogs carried a 4-2 lead into the final frame.
They then put the game away in the third by tacking on tallies by SIJHL Most Valuable Player Jacen Bracko early before Matthew Pitchenese and Ted Davis wrapped things up offensively.
Bracko, Jay, Davis and Cory Dennis all chipped in with two assists in the win.
Game 4 is set to be played in at Fort Frances’ Ice For Kids Arena, 7:30 p.m., while Game 5 (if necessary) is set for Sunday April 8 at Dryden Memorial Arena, Game 6 (if necessary) Monday April 9 in Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. and Game 7 (if necessary) Wednesday April 11 at Dryden Memorial Arena 7:30 p.m.