By Fighting Walleye Staff
Oliver Paipoonge, ON – After coming away with a big 7-0 victory over the visiting Dryden GM Ice Dogs on Friday night, the Kam River Fighting Walleye knew they’d be facing a fired-up squad for the rematch on Saturday. The home side got exactly what they expected, and then some, in a spirited contest at NorWest Arena.
The two teams entered the matchup in a deadlock for first place in the SIJHL standings, with 20 points apiece. With sole possession of top spot on the line, the play was quick and physical right from the drop of the puck.
The motivated visiting team carried the play for most of the opening period, out-shooting Kam River by a 19 to 5 margin in the frame. Walleye goaltender Ashton Sadauskas stood tall between the pipes, keeping the score deadlocked until late in the first, when Dryden’s Carson Devine potted his 5th of the season. Less than a minute later, 19 year old forward Eli Antoine, of Montreal, put the Ice Dogs ahead by two with a nice top shelf shot on a breakaway. Dryden took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Fighting Walleye found their legs in the second, and finally, with less than 3 minutes remaining on the score clock, were able to break Dryden goaltender Michael O’Sullivan’s shutout bid. Riley Borody, the big 20-year-old forward from Portage, Manitoba, banged home a rebound on the powerplay to put his team to within one. The marker was Borody’s 7th of the campaign.
Entering the third period with a 2-1 lead, Dryden pushed back and put the pressure on Sadauskas and the Kam River defence. The 2004-born Sadauskas, who won the VIJHL championship with the Oceanside Generals in ‘22-‘23, turned aside the Ice Dogs attack time and time again. His heroics bought the home team enough time for Nickolas Fagnilli to rip a top shelf wrist shot to tie the game at 2, midway through the third. The powerplay goal was Fagnilli’s 6th of the season. Dryden kept pushing hard for the next tally, including on a late man-advantage with Ryan Doucette in the penalty box for goaltender interference. The Ice Dogs thought they had scored a seconds-left go-ahead goal, only to have it waived off for goaltender interference. The score remained tied at the end of regulation.
The overtime period was fairly uneventful, both teams wary of making a costly mistake on the defensive side of the puck. The result would be determined via shootout, with Kaden Goodwin scoring the only goal for the Fighting Walleye, and Ashton Sadauskas stopping all 3 Dryden shooters.
The win put Kam River alone in first place in the standings. The Walleye now look ahead to a huge series at home against the Sioux Lookout Bombers next Friday and Saturday night.
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs travel to Fort Frances for a two-game set against the Lakers next weekend.
G and G Excavating 3 Stars
1st – Kaden Goodwin – KRW
2nd – Riley Borody – KRW
3rd – Eli Antoine – DRY