Thunder’s comeback falls short

After battling back from a 3-1 deficit, the Borderland Thunder saw their season end in heart-breaking fashion Saturday night with a 4-3 overtime loss to the host Dryden Ice Dogs in Game 7 of their semi-final series.
The Ice Dogs scored just 14 seconds into the extra frame to win the game and advance to the best-of-seven SIJHL final against the Fort William North Stars, which gets underway this Friday and Saturday in Thunder Bay.
“It was a tough break, tough loss for everyone. I think I’d rather lose in regular time,” said Thunder defenceman Andrew Perrault. “It’s more heart-breaking [in overtime], especially in the first 14 seconds.”
The team still is feeling the sting of a bad bounce that ended their season, but they have confidence in the improvements they made—not only during the semi-final series, but over the season.
Rookie Sean Councillor credited the turnaround to head coach Dave Allison. “Dave had a lot to do with it,” he said. “He taught us to work hard. We watched a lot of video.”
Allison said he feels good about the series as a whole, especially since his team battle back after being down 3-1. “It was an excellent series,” he said. “How many times, at whatever level, do you go to seven games?”
Allison feels slightly different about the overtime goal than his players, though agreeing it was a bad bounce.
“It was nice, if we had to lose, that it was something fluky,” he remarked.
The Thunder will graduate just three players, though Allison admitted they are three important ones. Top scorer Kevin Webb, starting goalie Dan Hoehne, and Rob Scales, whom Allison called a great heart and soul guy, will be moving on.
“Dan Hoehne . . . his play alone got us back into the series [with Dryden],” said Allison. “Kevin Webb has been the leading point-getter for this team for the past two years [and] Scales, I think he’s touched a lot of people, not just on the ice.”
But actually, the future is uncertain for all members of the Thunder. Any of the players could move on to the OHL or U.S. college hockey while the team itself could join the Manitoba league, which might offer players more stability than the five-team SIJHL.
Allison admitted he could move on, too.
“Who knows? You just see where things are,” he said. “Anybody can move on to a bigger league, you just have to stress the effort that goes into it.
“Hockey now is an 11-month sport. If you only play the season, you’ll be left behind,” he warned.
Game 7 on Saturday night was a see-saw affair which saw the Ice Dogs take the lead time and again only to have the Thunder battle back to tie the score.
Lockman led the attack with a pair of goals—the first tying the game at 1-1 in the first while the second knotted the score at 3-3 in the third.
Lockman also assisted on Kurt Hogard’s goal in the second that tied the game at 2-2.
The Thunder had forced the seventh and deciding game with a 5-1 victory over the Ice Dogs here in Game 6 last Thursday night, which had come on the heels of their 2-0 win in Dryden two days earlier that staved off elimination.
After a scoreless first period, Lockman scored right out of the penalty box, assisted by Webb and Hoehne, in the second.
Just three minutes later, Brent Olson tallied a short-handed marker before Justin Green (Ryan Mayman) gave the Thunder a 3-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Hogard (Lockman/Olson) netted a power-play goal in the third before the Ice Dogs spoiled Hoehne’s shutout bid. Mayman (Dave Gooch) then finished things off with an empty-net goal.