DRYDEN, Ont. – The Fort Frances Lakers let a four-goal third period lead slip away late, including giving up two in the final minute of regulation, before eventually regrouping and prevailing 6-5 in a shootout over the Dryden GM Ice Dogs Tuesday evening in Superior International Junior Hockey League action at Memorial Arena.
Fort Frances was flying to open the contest and went up 3-0 before the first period was 10 minutes old to take early control.
Asher Chorney began the offensive outburst as notched his first SIJHL goal, while his club was shorthanded, 2:44 into the frame.
Another new member of the Lakers, in newcomer Nick Lucas, also collected his initial SIJHL tally at 5:09 before recently acquired Hunter Buzzi also chipped in with his first for Fort Frances midway through the stanza as he converted during a man advantage opportunity.
Jaedin Ness became the fourth member of the club to notch his first league effort, which came 1:58 into the second period and spelled an end to Dryden starter Justin Anderson’s night in favour of Logan Sawka.
The GM Ice Dogs would get on the board 13 minutes into the session thanks Tristian Knott.
Skylar Lentz was the fifth Lakers’ skater to notch his opening league goal 55 seconds into the third to seemingly put his side in full control.
However the GM Ice Dogs roared back from there starting with an Eric Stout effort at 6:19.
Moving into the later stages of the period, Dryden kept coming and pulled to within two with just over four minutes remaining thanks to Jacen Bracko’s league-leading fifth of the campaign.
With momentum clearly in their favour Luke Bellerose brought the home side ever closer with 57 seconds left.
They then miraculously tied it and forced overtime at 19:46 when Trey Palermo brought the Dryden fans to their feet with the equalizer.
Moving on to a five-minute OT at three skaters aside, neither club would connect there so a shootout was needed to decide a winner.
There Bracko picked up the first goal for the GM Ice Dogs on a nice back hand attempt over the Lakers’ Rob Ivy.
After Damien Carigni scored for Fort Frances it eventually led to a fourth round being needed in the shootout.
There Jaedin Ness snapped one that Lawka got a piece of, but it trickled in to put the Lakers up before Ivy’s pad save on Evan Walls won it for Fort Frances.
Despite the Dryden rally, Ivy made 49 stops and three more in the shootout to register his first SIJHL victory and his team’s initial triumph of the season as they moved to 1-1-0-1.
Sawka suffered the loss stopping 17 of 18 in helping his club earn a point with the late rally as they fell to 2-0-0-1.
Anderson allowed four against on nine shots in 22 minutes of work.
Photo credit: Michael Christianson, Dryden Observer