Lakers split with Ice Dogs

Lucas Punkari

Squaring off for the second time in two nights, the pent-up emotions between the Fort Frances Lakers and Dryden Ice Dogs reached a boiling point last night up Highway 502.
The SIJHL rivals combined for 90 penalty minutes in the game, which ended up going to the Lakers by a score of 7-4.
That came just 24 hours after the Ice Dogs earned a 4-2 triumph at the Ice For Kids Arena here.
“There was a lot more intensity from both teams,” Lakers’ head coach Wayne Strachan noted.
“In the first period, it was a more of a feeling out process and we were able to come out of it with a 2-1 lead.
“Then in the second period, we pushed up the tempo level and the intensity level, and we were able to score some pretty nice goals as a result,” Strachan added.
“Then things started to get a little rough as the tempers started to boil over a little bit.
“But all in all, it was a hard-fought game and it was a nice way to bounce back after a tough loss on Tuesday,” Strachan reasoned.
Lakers’ defenceman Josh Scott led the way with two goals and an assist while forward Ryan Wildman added a goal and two helpers.
“It’s kind of funny because Josh had came up to me one day saying that he had a dream where he had four points in a game, and I believe it was against Dryden,” Strachan joked.
“He played one of his best games of the season and while his two goals may not have been the prettiest, they all count,” Strachan added.
Team captain Tyler Stevenson returned to the lineup after being benched on Tuesday—and the Lakers’ leading scorer made an immediate impact as he had a goal and an assist last night.
“I’m sure hoping that he got the message,” Strachan said. “He was definitely a lot more intense and physical than he has been in the last little while.
“And while we know that he has that offensive touch, we still want him to be a lot more active along the boards and in his checking.”
Ben McClellan had a goal and an assist for the host Ice Dogs, who saw a modest two-game winning streak end.
McClellan was the key contributor to the Ice Dogs’ win here Tuesday, scoring the eventual game-winning goal on the power play in the third period after Strachan was assessed a bench minor for voicing his displeasure to a 10-minute misconduct given to Davis Smith.
“I told the team after the game that I took full responsibility for not holding my emotions there,” Strachan said after Tuesday’s setback.
“Up until that point, I thought we were carrying the play, and we had many chances to go up on them.
“But once they scored on the power play, it really deadened the bench,” Strachan noted.
“It’s just not acceptable for the coach to do that there, and I wouldn’t accept it from my players, as well,” he stressed.
Wildman and Garrett Nystedt scored for the Lakers in the loss, which also ended the squad’s six-game home winning streak.
The Lakers (31-16-3) sit 12 points back of the league-leading Wisconsin Wilderness, but only three points ahead of the Thunder Bay North Stars for second in the standings.
Next up for the Lakers will be a tilt with the Sioux Lookout Flyers this Saturday (Feb. 12) at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.