DRYDEN, Ont. – Ted Davis’ second goal of the game, coming 12:15 into overtime, was the decider as the Dryden GM Ice Dogs rallied late to defeat the Thunder Bay North Stars 3-2 Saturday in front of over 900 fans in Game 1 of the Superior International Junior Hockey League Bill Salonen Cup final at Memorial Arena.
A solid early forecheck by Dryden’s Davis forced a turnover deep in Thunder Bay territory as he in turn left it for Eric Stout to put a pass on the stick of SIJHL MVP Jacen Bracko, who quickly fired in his league-leading seventh of the playoffs just 84 seconds into the series.
It stayed a one-goal game until 6:02 of the second when North Stars’ rookie forward Owen Belisle pushed the puck ahead off a face-off win deep in the Dryden zone and chipped a backhand that found its way through GM Ice Dogs’ netminder Landon Pavlisin.
The visitors built on that and took the lead moments later as Justin Muir passed the puck up to Bradley Thrower who was allowed to skate in over the blueline, cut to centre ice and fire a shot over the blocker of Pavlisin to make it 2-1.
It stayed that way until the latter stages of regulation when Davis darted out of the corner and drove to the net where he made a couple of solid moves before stuffing in the equalizer past the outstretched pad of goaltender Brandon Bodnar at 17:09.
Moving on to extra time, the two sides traded chances, but the key play resulted off an inopportune pinch by the North Stars defender that allowed the GM Ice Dogs to breakout on a two-on-one where Eric Stout’s crisp pass found Davis who calmly wired the game-winner high over top a sprawled Bodnar to end it.
Dryden outshot Thunder Bay 42-39 on the night with Pavlisin picking up the win while Bodnar suffered the loss.
Game 2 goes Sunday at 4 p.m. CT back at Memorial Arena.
SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup Final (Series E)
Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. Thunder Bay North Stars
Game 1: Dryden 3 Thunder Bay 2 (OT)
Game 2: Sunday, April 15 @ Dryden 4 p.m. CT (Memorial)
Game 3: Tuesday, April 17 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Gardens)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 18 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Gardens)
Game 5*: Friday, April 20 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial)
Game 6*: Saturday, April 21 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Gardens)
Game 7*: Monday, April 23 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial)
*- if necessary
Photo credit: Darby Hatfield