Lakers knot series again


Just call him Pierce Dushenk‘0.’
The Fort Frances Lakers’ goalie turned away all 35 shots he faced last night, and A.J. Rupert and Dylan Robertson each scored, in a 2-0 win over the host Dryden GM Ice Dogs in Game 4 of the SIJHL final.
The best-of-seven showdown is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 here tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Game 6 will follow Saturday night back in Dryden.
Lakers’ head coach and general manager Wayne Strachan issued a call to pack the arena tomorrow evening.
“The Lakers hope the seventh man helps them [tomorrow] night in Game 5,” he said.
It was a combination of Dushenko’s heroics and a Lakers’ power play that went 2-for-4 last night, after a meager 1-for-19 showing through the first three games, that made the difference.
After a scoreless first period, Rupert notched his second of the playoffs just 28 seconds into the middle stanza with Dryden’s Nic Noseworthy in the box for cross-checking.
Robertson fed Nick Minerva for a one-timer that was blocked by Ice Dogs’ goalie Troy Pierce.
But the netminder couldn’t squeeze the rebound, which Rupert knocked home from in tight.
The Ice Dogs, who led the SIJHL in penalty minutes during the regular season, were burned by another ill-timed infraction midway through the third.
Kent Walchuk clipped Minerva with a high stick that drew blood and a double minor.
The Lakers capitalized when Nolan Ross stole the puck off an Ice Dogs’ defender and hit Robertson with a pass in front, who made no mistake in drilling his eighth playoff goal at 10:35.
Dryden had two power plays in the last seven minutes.
But even with Pierce pulled on the second one to give the Ice Dogs a 6-on-4 advantage, the hosts couldn’t beat Dushenko.
The special teams’ story was much different in Tuesday night’s 4-1 triumph by the host Ice Dogs in Game 3.
Dryden went 2-for-5 with the man advantage that night, compared to an 0-for-8 showing by the Lakers.
The Ice Dogs led 3-1 after the first on goals by Walchuk, Derek McPhail, and Nathan Avery (power play).
Noseworthy added an empty-netter on the power play with 12 seconds left to ice the victory.
Jaden Gustafson, with his first goal as a Laker, netted the lone goal for the visitors.
In related news, former Lakers’ goalie Nathan Park made 20 saves Tuesday night to backstop the defending RBC Cup champion Portage Terriers to their second-straight MJHL crown following a 5-1 win over the visiting Steinbach Pistons in Game 5 of the Turnbull Cup final.
Park, who helped the Lakers capture last year’s SIJHL title, bounced back after getting pulled in 6-2 loss to Steinbach in Game 4 on Sunday.
As well, the SIJHL expansion team in Thief River Falls, Mn. now knows who will be the main man behind the bench for its inaugural season beginning this fall.
Cole Workman was hired Friday after serving as an assistant coach with the Adrian Bulldogs NCAA Division III women’s team and the Finlandia Lions NCAA men’s program.
The 25-year-old native of Howell, Mich., played four years at Finlandia before becoming a coach.