Thunder open on home ice with win, tie

The Borderland Thunder officially made the Memorial Sports Centre their home over the weekend with a 4-2 win and 2-2 tie against the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs.
Thunder forward Tom Rose scored the first SIJHL goal here late in the first period on Friday night after a quick pass from Josh Baxter behind the net.
Baxter scored with under a minute to go to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs barked back with a pair of goals in the second period from Tom Grant and Curtis Lyons before Kevin Webb, Borderland’s leading scorer, feathered the puck that fooled goalie Sean Fummerton midway through the period.
Matt Johnson added a power-play goal in the third period to round out the scoring.
In Saturday’s game, Justin Bodnarchuk scored on a wrist shot from point-blank range just after a power play had expired for a 1-0 Thunder lead in the first.
After the Bulldogs tied the score on the power play early in the second, Baxter scored late in the period to make it 2-1. But Jordan Gehl stormed the net to bang one by Thunder goalie Tom Iwaniec with 12 minutes to go.
Iwaniec and Bulldog goalie Mark Grant made key stops the rest of the game to preserve the tie.
Play was chippy, particularly in the second period of Friday’ game where a 10-person brawl erupted.
Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan was unhappy with how flat his team came out after taking the early lead in Saturday’s game.
“We came out sluggish [in the second period] and played their game,” he said. “[The Bulldogs] played an ugly road game and came out of it with a point.”
Strachan also admitted he and the players were a little nervous to start Friday’s game before a packed house–very close to the 1,200 capacity in the “Ice for Kids” Arena.
Fans were treated to opening ceremonies featuring Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, Couchiching First Nation Chief Chuck McPherson, and SIJHL president Jerry Blazino and commissioner Harvey Fedell.
The Thunder are now tied with the Dryden Ice Dogs atop the seven-team standings with a 5-1-2 record for 12 points.
The Feathermen Hawks (Thunder Bay) are just behind with 11 points. They defeated the Wolves (Thunder Bay) by a 9-4 margin yesterday.
The Thunder’s next game will be Oct. 24 in Dryden before hosting the Northwest Wisconsin Knights (Spooner) on Oct. 26-27.