Dogs pound falling Stars

February 13, 2022

There is no longer a tie for third place in the Superior International Jr. Hockey League. Dryden Ice Dogs took care of that in ferocious fashion with a two game takedown of the Thunder Bay North Stars.

Playing at home on the weekend, Dryden put exclamation points on 9-3 and 6-3 victories over Thunder Bay to move into sole possession of third place. The Ice Dogs now have 37 points from a record of 18-9-1 while the North Stars have a 15-10-3 showing and 33 points.

Further, Dryden has won 12 of its last 13 games after being below the .500 mark at 6-8-1 through its first 15 outings of the 2021-2022 campaign.

Pineshish Whiteduck

Thunder Bay, on the flip side, has lost three straight games to begin the 2022 segment, having started out with a 7-4 loss to the first place Kam River Fighting Walleye.

In sweeping the North Stars on the weekend, a foursome of 20-year old Ice Dogs who were added at the trade deadline showed their teeth in the two triumphs.

Forwards Nakoda Thunderchief and Pineshish Whiteduck both had one goal, three assist performances in Dryden colours while defenseman Jordan Gagnon dished out three assists and goalie Cole Johnston stopped 73 of 79 shots to backstop the Ice Dogs to the two wins.

Thunderchief was rescued from the lowly Fort Frances Lakers in a multi-player deal and besides skill and dogged determination, he is a leader. Thunderchief was team captain in Fort Frances and is a heart and soul style player and a character individual who embraced his arrival in Dryden while showing a caring side for his former Lakers team, who are in last place in the SIJHL with a 2-22-0 record and have lost 15 straight games.

Jordan Gagnon

Whiteduck’s arrival in Dryden came via trade with the Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League. The hard-toiling Whiteduck began the season with the Sudbury Cubs of the NOJHL. In 26 NOJHL games between Sudbury and Espanola, Whiteduck had four goals, 13 assists, 17 points.

Gagnon and Johnston, meanwhile, were low cost pickups by the Ice Dogs with experience in other junior leagues.


General manager and coach Kurt Walsten has assembled a sizeable, high scoring, hard hitting team in Dryden. The additions of aforementioned 20-year olds Thunderchief, Whiteduck, Gagnon and Johnston have rounded out a high performance Ice Dogs sled that was already led by SIJHL points leader Maxime Collette and prolific producers Tristan Takats, Cameron Ware, Brady Frattinger, Ondrej Bardos and Tyler Earl and a blue line brigade manned by the likes of Jackson Jacques, Chase Muswagon and Dayton Bull.

Brady Frattinger

To be sure, the inimitable Walsten is a feared presence throughout the SIJHL. He already has a pair of league championships on his resume and is the undisputed leader of the pack of a menacing crew of Ice Dogs who are chasing first place Kam River and second seed Red Lake Miners heading into the stretch run of the recently resumed 2021-2022 season.

As aforementioned, spunky skater Brady Frattinger noted in a recent interview with Hockey News North: “We are as good, if not better, than any team in the league. And having the new guys on our team just makes us that much better.”

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