Thunder skate past ’Dogs

Just 24 hours after some of the players skated together in the Superior International Junior Hockey League’s all-star game here, the Borderland Thunder and Dryden Ice Dogs last night resumed what they do best: hate each other.
The Thunder (23-8-8) won 3-1 up there on a night of rough play and high tempers—complete with an all-out equipment littering fight.
“There’s always been a rivalry between Dryden and Fort Frances,” said Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan, whose team’s win put them nine points ahead of second-place Dryden in the SIJHL standings.
“Last night just added a lot more fire to the fuel.
“As the playoffs get closer, teams are starting to play tough so we have to get used to it,” Strachan added.
Kevin Webb netted his league-leading 38th and 39th goals of the year to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Thunder goalie Rob Hrabec was ejected for checking from behind in late in the first while returning to his crease after a clearing attempt.
Then things got rowdy. Ice Dogs forward Mike English, who had just returned from a three-game suspension for fighting, scored to cut the lead in half midway through the second before a brawl ensued.
The Thunder’s Ian Lockman, Kyle Prystupa, and Clayton Windego all were tossed from the game. English was among three Ice Dogs sent to the showers.
When play resumed, Matt Johnson, who found himself alone at the side of the net on the power play, banged a cross-ice feed from David Lloyd past Ice Dogs goalie Ryan McGillis.
The Thunder defence then stifled the Ice Dogs the rest of the way.
“I think we did a pretty good job,” Thunder assistant coach Sean Taggart said this morning. “Even though we lost those key players, the guys rallied together and played a pretty sound hockey game in [Dryden’s] barn.”
Backup goalie Tom Iwaniec stepped in and saved 18 of 19 shots. Strachan said the team’s confidence in their last line of defence doesn’t drop when the Nestor Falls native steps in.
“Tom came and played great, and he did the job we needed him. Everyone rose up to the occasion,” he said.
Strachan said both Windego and Hrabec could be looking at suspensions from the league. This was Windego’s third fight of the season while checking from behind is cause for a suspension according to league rules.
The Thunder’s next action will be against these same Ice Dogs here this coming Tuesday night.