Lakers lose in double OT thriller

Dan Falloon

For all the extra work the Fort Frances Lakers have been putting into their SIJHL semi-final series with the Dryden Ice Dogs, the 2-1 deficit is hard to take.
Both Dryden wins have gone beyond regulation time, including Saturday night’s 4-3 double-overtime thriller here.
The Lakers had evened the series the night before with a 4-2 win in Dryden.
That victory in Game 2 was Fort Frances’ first win over the Ice Dogs all season after suffering 13-straight defeats dating back to the regular season.
Brenden Church opened the scoring for Dryden on Friday night with a power-play marker early in the first, but Fort Frances responded before the period was through.
The Lakers’ current hot hand, Justin Erhart, beat Ice Dogs’ goalie Josh Baker at 6:14 and again at 13:12 to put the Lakers up 2-1.
Captain Tyler Stevenson extended the advantage to two with his fourth goal in as many games at 12:52 of the second before former Ice Dog Matthew Caulfield enacted some revenge with his second of the playoffs at 1:15 of the third.
Kyle Heck tallied at 10:03 to get Dryden within two, but Lakers’ goalie Jameson Shortreed shut the door the rest of the way to preserve the 4-2 win.
Shortreed made 27 saves on the night while Baker turned aside 10 of 14 before giving way to Curtis Barker, who stopped all 13 shots he faced.
Then on home ice Saturday night, the Lakers jumped out to a healthy 2-0 lead by storming the Ice Dogs’ crease.
Jordan Carne and Erhart deflected home pucks just 1:43 apart in the middle of the first period to go up by a pair.
Carne’s goal staked him out to the top of the post-season scoring lead with 10 points in 10 games.
Erhart’s tally, meanwhile, was his fourth in three games after not finding the net in any of the seven games of the first-round series versus the K&A Wolverines.
The Ice Dogs responded just 1:37 after Erhart’s tally. A down-and-out Shortreed was able to make a brilliant point-blank save on Ben McClellan, but BJ McClellan followed up to smack home the rebound.
After a scoreless second, Dryden came out blitzing in the third as Church and Mike Lennon netted goals 58 seconds apart to snatch the lead.
An unlikely source then came to bat for the Lakers to tie it when defenceman Josh Scott wristed a harmless-looking shot towards the net from the right point.
But after the puck hit an Ice Dog, it trickled through the wickets of Baker to tie the game and force overtime.
The first 10-minute extra period solved nothing. So after a flood of the ice, the teams returned for a second overtime.
Heck eventually was the hero, putting a puck towards the net that skipped over Shortreed’s stick and across the goal line to break the hearts of Laker faithful.
Shortreed ended up with 56 saves, including 38 in the first two periods alone, while Baker blocked 37 for Dryden.
Game 4 goes here tonight at 7:30 p.m. before the scene shifts back to Dryden for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
If necessary, Game 6 is scheduled for back here on Friday (March 26) at 7:30 p.m.
Should the series go the distance, Game 7 would be played Saturday in Dryden.
In related news, the Lakers’ fan club is looking at renting a bus or a van to travel to Game 5 on Wednesday night.
Those interested in making the trip can contact Wayne Herbert at 274-0493.