By Mike Ebbeling
Dryden, ON – It can be called the best game of the season for the Dryden GM Ice Dogs. The Ice Dogs overwhelmed the Sioux Lookout Bombers in the final two frames on route to a 4-1 win at the Memorial Arena.
The first period could be described as Fast and Furious on the Ice as the Bombers showed their blazing speed. However Dryden GM was able to counter and the opener was back and forth with pure skill on display. The best chance was a rush by hometown boy Ben Hackl. He finally got one past Jake Manners, who was unbelievable throughout, on the blocker side but he hit it square off the post. This was one of many glorious chances for Hackl in the game but was snake bit. Eric Clark was equally stellar on the other end with some big stops for the Ice Dogs. The defence was able to limit Sioux Lookout to minimal if any second chances to go into the break scoreless.
The Ice Dogs that fans are used to know of came out guns a blazing in the second period as they attacked the Bomber puck handlers wave after wave. The inexpericenced Bombers seemed stunned as the aggressivw and phsical forecheck forced turnover after turnover with missed passes and a tentative backline. Sioux Lookout was unable to find their transitional game and were held in their own zone throughout. But it was a skill goal that opened the scoring. Defenceman Easton Debra found Max Roby who slipped past the defenceman. On the half boards and off balance, he fired a beautiful tape-to-tape pass in the neutral zone where Ty Earl was wide open and he buried his second of the year. After that the rookie Bombers goalie was under seige but was able to keep his team in the game with some highlight reel saves. The Ice Dogs would enter the break up 1-0.
It was much the same in the third with Manners once again the story. Sioux Lookout’s offence then took advantage of a 5-3 power-play with Sebastano Biagi and Max Rath in the box. The Bombers would quickly strike with nTy Bahm getting near the crease redirecting a Nathan Dann shot from the blueline.That was Dann’s second point in his first two games. He scored the game winner at home in a 5-3 over Thunder Bay. Unfazed, the Ice Dogs bounced right back and took advantage of some power-plays of their own.They were all generated from some soft but deadly shots from the point that all found a crowded crease.. First it was James Hooton from Max Rath and Max Roby. Landen Stromme would add some insurance as he banged one home. Forward Jordan Pfoh, playing defence in this game, earned a helper as did Ryland Maier. An exhausted Sioux Lookout goalie could only look on helplessly as the Ice Dogs continued to attack. Bryce Benfield would leave no doubt as he crashed the net and redirected a Stromme shot. That goal came 5-5 with about five minutes left. The Dryden defence cleaned things up for the win in front an announced crowd of 382 who braved a nasty snow storm to watch, many from Sioux Lookout who made the 50 minute trip south to cheer on their beloved Bombers and Dryden product Peter Zilkalns who made ihs return since playing 2 games last year with the Ice Dogs. The young defender grew up in the local system and played High School Hockey with the Eagles.
Dryden moves 2 points behind third place Sioux Lookout with the victory. The rematch is Saturday at 7:30 at the Memorial Arena. You can watch that game on SIJHL Hockey TV.
First: 11-7 Dryden GM
Second: 14-6 Dryden GM
Third: 13-6 Dryden GM
Final: 38-19 Dryden GM
- Eric Clark: Dryden GM 2. Jae Manners: Sioux North 3. Ty Earl: Dryden GM