Thunder sign four, but lose goalie

The Borderland Thunder may not have been very busy on the ice lately, but the team’s front office has been a beehive of activity.
The defending SIJHL champs—mired in a 1-8-1 slump and saddled with a roster depleted by injuries and suspensions, signed four new players in the past week.
The shopping spree began with the acquisition late last week of Atikokan native Stephen MacLeod from the Quesnel Millionaires of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.
The centre had just one assist in limited ice time with the Millionaires this season after leading the Kenora Midget ‘AAA’ Stars in scoring last year.
“[MacLeod’s] got a good combination of skill and a great work ethic,” Thunder head coach Dave Allison said Sunday night. “He’s a guy who plays with a lot of purpose in games and in practice.”
Then this past Monday (Dec. 1) marked “cut-down” day in the Canadian Junior ‘A’ Hockey League, meaning all teams had to have their rosters trimmed to a maximum of 25 players.
Any teams with roster spots still open can fill those spots until Jan. 10.
That meant a host of players were up for grabs on the open market, and with an eye on bolstering their defence corps and goaltending, the Thunder staked their claim on a trio of Junior ‘A’ veterans.
Borderland pointed its nose west to find the blueline duo of Cale David from the Selkirk Steelers (Manitoba Junior Hockey League) and Spencer Davis from the Flin Flon Bombers (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League).
The pair of 6’2”, 210-pound defencemen also are identical in their scoring statistics, with both having two assists in 26 games with their respective clubs.
David and Davis should lend an imposing presence to the Thunder’s defence corps, which has looked shaky so far this season because of inexperience and injuries.
Then it was time to address the goaltending situation, with Thomas Dombrowski brought in from the North Bay Skyhawks—the defending Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League champs.
Dombrowski’s presence became necessary with Thunder back-up goalie Jared Baldwin abruptly leaving the team last week.
“Jared was having a hard time mixing his work schedule with his hockey,” noted Allison. “He came in Friday and informed us he was leaving.”
Baldwin, who had backstopped the International Falls Broncos to the Region 7A final last season, had a 2-4 record with a 4.52 goals against average and an .852 save percentage is SIJHL action this season.
With Baldwin gone and starter Dan Hoehne still on the shelf for another two weeks following a concussion, the Thunder were left with only Joe Bergman (0-2, 7.50 GAA) between the pipes.
“We were looking to shore up our defence a bit, along with our goaltending, and we did that,” said Borderland GM Brent Tookenay. “The guys on defence have experience, size, and toughness.
“We’re going to be all right. We just have to hang in until we get Hoehne back,” he added.
Hoehne, the reigning SIJHL goalie of the year, has been sidelined for more than a month. He has been given a clean bill of health by doctors, but will need time to get himself into game shape.
The fourth-place Thunder (7-10-1), who haven’t played since a 7-4 loss to the first-place Dryden Ice Dogs (16-3-3-2) there last Wednesday night, next will host the second-place Fort William First Nation North Stars (16-4-1) this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena.
The North Stars are riding a six-game winning streak.
Borderland will be without Hoehne, as well as forwards Josh McAndrew (wrist) and Sean Councillor (ankle), due to injury. And they’ll also be missing forwards Ian Lockman and Andrew Dault, along with defenceman Ryan Mayman, because of suspensions.
Lockman received three games from the league after being given a match penalty for hitting from behind against Dryden last week. He will miss both games this weekend, plus the Dec. 12 road game against Fort William.
Dault and Mayman both were handed one-game suspensions for taking part in their third fights of the season, also in the Dryden game. They are scheduled to return Saturday against the North Stars.