Lakers cruise to Game 1 victory
A four-goal outburst in just over six minutes of the second period proved to be the difference last night as the Fort Frances Lakers cruised to a 6-1 win over the visiting Dryden Ice Dogs in Game 1 of their best-of-seven semi-final series.
“We were pretty powerful during that span and they couldn’t even touch us,” noted Lakers’ forward Jacob Nolan, who had a goal and an assist in the opener.
The second half of the frame was a stark contrast to how the first part of the period went for the Lakers as Dryden’s Paul Thompson scored early on to tie the game at 1-1.
“I thought that in the first 10 minutes of the period that we were a little bit slow and not moving our feet,” admitted Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan.
“Then Alex Bruess’ line had good shift where they cycled the puck around, and Miles Nolan’s line came right back out and did the same thing,” he noted.
“I think that really sparked the team as we were able to score on the power play shortly afterwards.”
Heading into last night’s game, the biggest story revolved around who wasn’t in the lineup for the Lakers.
Colton Spicer, the team’s second-leading scorer, no longer is a member of the squad.
“There was an altercation in practice last Friday, and Colton left the team afterwards and he hasn’t talked to anyone since,” Strachan said.
“He left the team on his own accord and we’ve moved on as a group here.
“We’re looking to build toward winning a championship here, and that is our focus,” Strachan stressed.
With the Fort Frances native no longer on the top line with Merritt Rysavy and Jordan Christianson, rookie Kevin Kurm took his place and was rewarded with a goal and an assist.
“Whenever Colton was sick, hurt, or suspended, we have had a few different guys take his place in the lineup,” Strachan noted.
“I wanted to put Kevin in that role, and I’ve liked him there since we practised on Sunday.
“I thought that line came on through the game and Kevin was awarded for that,” he added.
Joining Nolan and Kurm in the two-point club last night were Christianson and defenceman John Dora, who both had a pair of assists.
Tyler Brodersen, Simon Desrosiers, Brendan Cawston, and Bruess also scored for the Lakers while Talor Joseph turned aside 21 shots to earn his first SIJHL playoff win.
“I thought I was pretty solid tonight,” Joseph said.
“I didn’t really have much action during the first and second period, but I was just making sure that I was staying focused out there so that I was ready for anything,” he added.
The Lakers will look to go up 2-0 when they host the Ice Dogs in Game 2 tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The lineup is expected to remain the same for the home side, with the possible exception of Desrosiers, who left last night’s game with blurriness following a collision late in the second period.
“We will be evaluating his condition today, and we will make any adjustments if need be if he can’t play,” Strachan said.
The series will switch to Dryden for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday, with Game 5 (if necessary) back here next Thursday (March 28).