Thunder on the ropes tonight

The Borderland Thunder didn’t get the “must-win” they needed and now are now looking down the barrel of a season-ending sweep tonight in Dryden.
The Thunder fell 4-1 last night to the host Ice Dogs, who now lead their best-of-seven SIJHL final 3-0.
For the second-straight time, the Thunder’s offence was stifled by the Ice Dogs’ neutral ice trap. Every offensive rush was taken away after Dryden grabbed the lead—thanks to a three-goal outburst to close out the first period.
The Thunder tried to move the puck quickly to hit their cutting forwards but the results weren’t there.
“It didn’t seem we could do it. We weren’t throwing the passes in there and were hanging on to the puck too long,” Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan said.
“It was just another game where Dryden wanted it more than we did.”
Actually, the Thunder opened the scoring when Ian Lockman netted a power-play goal off a scramble with 4:45 left in the first period.
But Dryden’s Merlyn Smith fired a fat rebound past Thunder goalie Rob Hrabec 40 seconds later to tie the game.
Then Ice Dogs defenceman Mike Kavanaugh scored two quick ones—the latter coming off a low point drive which found its way through a maze of players—to give his team a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Tyler McDonald scored after a Thunder giveaway behind the net in the first minute of the second period to round out the scoring.
Ryan McGillis stopped 27 shots for the Ice Dogs while Hrabec made 21 saves in the loss.
“When we had the lead, we held on. It was another defensive gem,” said Dryden head coach Larry Wintoneak. “We’re happy. We know we’re one step away from winning this thing.
“But I know that team [Thunder] is not going to give up.”
The Thunder also were hit by the injury bug before last night’s game as two members of their top scoring line didn’t play.
Chad Baldwin stayed home with strept throat while playoff leading scorer Matt Johnson suffered a shoulder injury.
To shore up the loss, the Thunder called up Josh McAndrew from the Kenora ‘AAA’ Midget Stars to play on a combination of lines with Justin Bodnarchuk, Ryan Hilfer, and Kris Esselink.
Despite the mounting adversity and huge hole, Strachan said his team is hoping to build some momentum with a win tonight.
“I told them, ‘We’ve won four games in a row many times this season and if we go out there and do what we can do, I still believe we can win.’”
If the Thunder prolong the seaason, Game 5 will go here Tuesday night (April 9).