Friday, July 31, 2015

Lakers fall to ’Dogs in shootout

After two periods here Tuesday night, it looked as if the Fort Frances Lakers were about to make a big statement in the race for second place in the SIJHL.
Instead, it was the hosts who were left licking their wounds as the Dryden Ice Dogs erased a two-goal deficit in the third period en route to a 3-2 shootout victory.

“The breakdowns that we had in the third period were a bit alarming at times as they were similar to the mistakes that we made early on in the [season],” noted Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“Their first goal came on a two-on-one rush that started from a breakdown, and the save that Tanner [Hamilton] had to try and make was a tough one for any goalie,” he said.
“On the second goal, we just let a guy come out of the corner and two of our guys were unable to lay a hand on him, which was quite alarming.
“Those are things that we need to fix up here, especially if we want to reach our goal of being one of the top two seeds in the playoffs,” Strachan stressed.
Despite allowing those two third-period goals, the Lakers still had a shot to get the win in overtime, with their best chance coming late in the extra frame when defenceman John Dora saw his shot ring off the crossbar.
“I thought that we controlled things for the most part in overtime,” Strachan said.
“Owen Stauber had a nice rush up the ice to create some things and Jon Bachman had a chance for us, but we were just unable to bury the puck home,” he lamented.
The Lakers’ snipers remained cold in the shootout as both Jordan Christianson and Colton Spicer had their shots clang off the iron.
At the other end of the rink, Chris Belhumer and Jesse Linner beat Hamilton to help the Ice Dogs complete the comeback.
“It all came down to us getting the third goal of the game,” said Ice Dogs’ head coach Paul MacLean.
“If they would have scored to go up by three goals, it would have been all over,” he reasoned.
“But we were able to bounce back and roll with it.”
Cole Sonstebo and Paul Thompson each scored for the Ice Dogs in regulation, with Christianson and Jacob Nolan countering for the home squad.
Despite the loss, the Lakers picked up a single point by taking the game to a shootout, which briefly moved them into sole possession of third place ahead of the Minnesota Iron Rangers.
The Iron Rangers vaulted back ahead of the Lakers last night, though, as they snapped the Minnesota Wilderness’ 20-game win streak with a 2-1 shootout triumph.
Dryden remains in second place and holds a five-point cushion over the Iron Rangers following an 8-5 win over the Duluth Clydesdales last night.
The Lakers, meanwhile, will look to bounce back here tomorrow night when they host the league-leading Wilderness at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
That game could see the debut of newly-acquired blueliner Simon Desrosiers, who was picked up in a trade with the NOJHL’s Abitibi Eskimos earlier this week in exchange for a player development fee.
“We’re hoping that he can provide some offence for us at the back, especially on the power play, where we really need the help at the moment,” Strachan said.
The 18-year-old from Ste-Julie, Que. had 18 points in 25 games for the Eskimos prior to being dealt to the Lakers.
Strachan also noted there’s the possibility of a couple of more transactions prior to today’s CJHL trade deadline.
The team will have until 8 p.m. tonight to make a trade with other Junior ‘A’ teams across the country, and until 11 p.m. to complete a deal with fellow SIJHL clubs.

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