Thunder ring up another win over Ice Dogs

As the Ice Dogs left the ice following the warm-ups Tuesday night, a Thunder fan shouted, “You’re in our house now, Dryden!”
And the Thunder defended their house with a gruelling but convincing 4-2 win to give them a 16-3-1 record on the season—good enough for second place in the SIJHL behind the still undefeated Fort William North Stars (16-0-1).
“I’d say that there was effort out there by a lot of guys, and that’s the first thing because you can’t improve unless you get effort,” Thunder head coach Dave Allison replied when asked to recap the game.
“I think the first thing you want to look at is to see if guys work hard, and a lot of our guys stepped up and worked extremely hard,” he noted.
“Now we’ve got to get back to the good habits that can carry you through each and every game, each and every day.”
The game didn’t start out well for the Thunder, who they failed to register a shot on goal until three minutes into the frame.
But that first shot turned into a goal off the stick of captain Josh McAndrew from the slot—unassisted—for what turned out to be the lone goal of the period.
The Ice Dogs opened the second period with a strong forecheck of their own, but it was Fort Frances native Scott Bridgeman who got the better hand four minutes in—scoring on a breakaway after a nice feed from Andrew Dault.
Dennis Morrison then extended that lead to 3-0 while on the power play seven minutes later.
He put on an exceptional display of stick-handling to clear room for himself and made no mistake with his shot that went five-hole on the Ice Dogs’ goalie.
In the third, Bridgeman netted his second of the game from the slot, which perhaps made a good impression on the scout from Bemidji State University who attended last night’s game.
His presence may have caused some of the Thunder to play a little overexcited and “try to do to much,” as the team allowed a pair of goals late in the game while playing much of the period short-handed.
“Some guys try to do to much, and they forget that it’s a team game and you’ve got to help each other,” said Allison.
The Thunder came into last night’s game confident after a strong showing against the K&A Golden Hawks last weekend in Thunder Bay, where they won both games by scores of 2-1 and 5-3.
Now they will try to bring that same effort against the first-place North Stars here this Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (5 p.m.)
“[The North Stars] have got more skill,” noted Allison. “They’ve got more experience, so you have to be willing to play harder together as a team and it can be done.”
The Thunder opened the season in October with a 1-1 overtime time against Fort William, but since have been beaten 9-1 and 9-0 by the North Stars—now the 15th-ranked junior ‘A’ team in the country.
“If we continue to get effort, and if we continue to try to get better, it will be done,” Allison vowed.