It’s no joke: Thunder are in trouble

The Borderland Thunder matched their home loss total on the season in two days. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The Thunder dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven SIJHL final—4-3 and 3-0—to the Dryden Ice Dogs at the Ice for Kids Arena over Easter weekend.
Games 3 and 4 go Wednesday and Thursday in Dryden.
The Thunder were a league-best 20-2-1 on home ice entering the final but that didn’t matter as the Ice Dogs’ defence gave the Thunder headaches.
“I don’t know where we were,” Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan said. “We didn’t come to play [last night]. Dryden outworked us. They got a big goal and they shut us down.”
Dryden forward Konrad Bruetsch opened the scoring midway through the first when a loose puck from a Mike Kavanaugh point shot found its way right to him on the open side of the net.
In the third, the full house on hand desperately looked for something to cheer for as Thunder goalie Rob Hrabec made big stops on Mike English and Brian Rankin.
But the Thunder continued to be stifled by Ice Dogs’ defence.
English rounded out the scoring with a pair of empty-net goals in the last minute of play.
“We executed when we had to,” said Ice Dogs head coach Larry Wintoneak, whose team is 14-2-1 since his arrival behind the bench in mid-February.
“We made a few adjustments and I think it gave us that edge. We really bottled them up and they couldn’t do anything.”
Saturday night’s contest was much more wide open and also went down to the wire.
Rankin opened the scoring in the first before goals by Kyle Prystupa later in the period and Matt Johnson in the second gave the Thunder their only lead of the weekend.
Bruetsch and Steven Roy netted third-period markers to retake the lead at 3-2.
With just over three minutes left in regulation time, Thunder defenceman Jay Philips floated a shot from the blueline that took several bounces before beating goalie Ryan McGillis to tie the game at 3-3.
But Tyler McDonald broke down the Thunder defence by zipping through the zone and lifted a shot over Hrabec with 40 seconds to go.
The Thunder outshot the Ice Dogs in both games—by a 32-23 margin in Game 1 and a 23-12 clip last night in Game 2.
Strachan said it’s back to the drawing board for his team, adding he’s confident they can get back into the series when it resumes in Dryden.
“We have to start working harder to get to the net and doing what it takes to win,” he said.
Game 5, if necessary, will be played back here next Tuesday (April 9).