After playing seven of their first nine games at home, Fort Frances Lakers’ head coach Wayne Strachan stressed his team needed to take on a “road warrior” mentality.
The local Junior ‘A’ squad seemed to get the message last night, beating the Dryden Ice Dogs 5-2 to score their first road win in three tries this season.
The game began as a replay of the Lakers’ other away games so far as Dryden’s Dallas Crum beat Jameson Shortreed at 15:57 of the first period to open the scoring.
The Ice Dog lead was short-lived, however, as Matt Caulfield notched his first of the campaign just 2:45 later for the first of three Laker power-play goals on the night.
Fort Frances used some undisciplined Ice Dog play to jump ahead in the second period when captain Tyler Stevenson netted his eighth power-play goal of the young season (and 12th overall) to put the Lakers up 2-1 at 2:55.
Jon Sinclair doubled the lead at 4:50 when his second of the year beat Dryden goalie Ian Perrier.
Lakers’ defenceman Connor Hady chased Perrier from the game at 7:02 as his man-advantage marker made it 4-1.
The goal was Hady’s first.
Dryden tried to get back in the game early in the third when Jacob Ransom tallied just 30 seconds into the frame.
But Henry Gutierrez’s second of the year, coming into the empty net with just two seconds left, sealed the win.
Shortreed turned aside 33 shots to earn the win while Perrier stopped 10 of 14 before being pulled.
Brett Timmermann blocked all 11 he saw in relief.
Hady, Sinclair, and defenceman Cody Hasbargen all registered multiple-point games.
Special teams continued to be a strong point for the Lakers, who converted on three-of-four power play attempts to increase their conversion percentage to 35.3 percent (18-of-51) on the season.
They’ve only gone one game without a power-play marker this season, failing on all four chances in 1-0 loss to Dryden back on Sept. 21.
The penalty kill is a similar story. The Lakers have killed off 91.4 percent (43-of-47), and haven’t allowed a power-play goal in their last six games.
Fort Frances last allowed a power-play goal on Sept. 25 in a 5-3 win over Wisconsin.
The Lakers (6-4) will continue their road swing this weekend, visiting the Fort William North Stars on Saturday and then the expansion Duluth Clydesdales on Sunday.