Cole in goal in a winning role

April 2, 2022
Cole Johnston

Up next for the Dryden Ice Dogs is the daunting task of facing the high octane Red Lake Miners in the second round of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League playoffs. Backed by the nifty net-minding of Cole Johnston and a run and gun offensive display, Dryden swept the Fort Frances Lakers in three straight games in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Ice Dogs clinched the series on Friday with a 9-0 road romp over the Lakers. Johnston made 20 saves for his second shutout of the series — the 20-year old from Regina, Saskatchewan allowed just one goal on 60 shots in the three games — and Maxime Collette, Cameron Ware, Brady Frattinger and Bryce Benfield combined for 15 points for Dryden in the 9-0 white wash.

The Ice Dogs won the first two games of the series by 5-0 and 4-1 scores.

Dryden, which finished in third place during the regular season with a .622 winning percentage from a record of 26-15-4, now takes on second seed Red Lake in one semi-final series. Red Lake logged a .797 winning percentage from a regular season record of 28-6-3 and features a goal-scoring machine led by Jordan Baranesky, Ryan Hunter, Brady Harroun, Nic Bolin and late-season addition Mathieu Belanger.

Meanwhile, fourth-seed Thunder Bay North Stars will play first-place Kam River Fighting Walleye in the SIJHL’s other best-of-seven semi-final. Thunder Bay ousted the Wisconsin Lumberjacks in three straight games in the other opening round playoff series.

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