An inspired Dryden GM Ice Dogs’ squad doubled the Thunder Bay North Stars 4-2 last night in Game 4 of their best-of-seven SIJHL final at the Fort William Gardens.
The series is tied 2-2 heading into Game 5 tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Memorial Arena in Dryden.
Game 6 is slated for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. back in Thunder Bay.
Game 7, if necessary, will be go Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Dryden.
It was a much calmer affair than it was in Game 3 on Tuesday, a 2-1 win for the North Stars, when Thunder Bay’s Avery Siau allegedly punched Dryden coach Kurt Walsten in the face after the game.
Siau, along with Carson Lux and Matthew Pitchenese of the Ice Dogs, were being suspended indefinitely for their actions.
Both teams also were fined an undisclosed amount for the altercation.
An early power play helped Dryden open the scoring last night as Kris Hamlin double-pumped and snapped a wrist shot from inside the blueline that beat North Stars’ goalie Brandon Bodnar at 1:38.
The visitors doubled the lead just over seven minutes later off a face-off win when Woody Galbraith backhanded a shot that eluded Bodnar short side.
Dryden made it 3-0 13:49 into the second on another man-advantage when Malcolm Huemmert banged in the rebound off a Hamlin point shot.
The North Stars trimmed it to 3-1 off the stick of Brendan Gillis, who corralled the rebound of his own shot and beat Dryden goalie Landon Pavlisin.
Up a man in the latter stages of regulation time, the home side pulled to within one at 17:09 as Kyle Auger sent a shot through a maze from the right point that found its way into the net.
Then with Bodnar pulled in favour of an extra attacker, Hamlin whiffed on a breakaway on the empty net and hit the post.
But his teammates bailed him out by getting him the puck once more, where he made no mistake this time to round out the scoring.
Pavlisin made 45 saves to earn the win while Bodnar turned aside 32 shots in taking the loss.
Dryden came into the game after suffering a narrow defeat in Game 3 a night earlier.
A Ryan Mignault power-play goal 8:55 into the second period proved to be the game-winner as the North Stars eked out the 2-1 victory.
Dryden opened the scoring just past the four-minute mark of the first when Trey Palermo scooped up the puck off a Pitchenese rush and went high on Bodnar.
Logan Mihalcin drew the North Stars even early in the second when he snapped a shot from just inside the blueline that sailed high off the post and eluded Pavlisin, who was screened on the play.
During a man advantage, and while on a delayed penalty call, Mignault redirected a Kyle Auger point shot later in the frame for the eventual winner.
Neither side could capitalize any further due to the stellar play of Pavlisin, who finished with 49 stops in defeat, and Bodnar, who turned aside 33 shots in earning the win.