Ice Dogs hounding Walleye

February 2, 2022

Dryden Ice Dogs head into the 2022 segment of the season 12 points back of the first place Kam River Fighting Walleye. But high scoring Ice Dogs forward Brady Frattinger is of the notion that Dryden is just as good — if not better — than any team in the Superior International Jr. Hockey League.

The 19-year old Frattinger, who plays much bigger and with more physicality than the average 5-foot-10, 165 pound skater, likes the look of his Ice Dogs team even more since Dryden added multiple players at the January 10 trade deadline.

Brady Frattinger

“We were on par with the top teams before but with the new guys we added we are even better and we have a good chance to win the league,” Frattinger told Hockey News North. “Kam River comes in to our barn on Saturday and we are ready and really excited to get back to playing.”

Frattinger — who is third on the Dryden scoring chart with 12 goals, 18 assists, 30 points in 26 games — said it “feels great” to be back to a regular routine of practice ahead of the Ice Dogs first game since December 15.

During the pause in play — the Christmas break was followed by an Ontario government ordered shutdown relative to the Omicron variant — Frattinger said he skated on outdoor rinks in his hometown of Elkhorn, Manitoba and at his billet family’s back yard rink in Dryden.

“It has been a long time between games for all of us but we are looking forward to the second half of play … and having the new guys on our team just makes us that much better,” added the friendly, easy-to-talk-to Frattinger.

The newcomers acquired by Dryden at the recent Canadian Jr. Hockey League trade deadline include four 20-year olds in forwards Nakoda Thunderchief and Pineshish Whiteduck, defenseman Jordan Gagnon and goalie Cole Johnston, plus 18-year old defenseman Tie Jacobs.

Matt Valley

As Dryden plays host to Kam River on Saturday evening, the Fighting Walleye will first return to league play on Friday night when it plays host to its cross-town rival Thunder Bay North Stars.

And both head coach Matt Valley and general manager Kevin McCallum of league-leading Kam River are ready for the return to play after so much time away.

“It is going to be very exciting to see what this group can do,” Valley told Hockey News North. “While we are confident in all of the pieces in place, I think that it’s anybody’s league to win. Our guys all know that the real work starts now and we have to be ready to continue growing if we want to make a real run here.”

McCallum, meanwhile, gave his take on the 2021 segment of play while looking ahead to the 2022 recommence.

“We are extremely happy with our current record and spot in the standing knowing we haven’t accomplished anything. There is still a mountain in front of us to get to where we want to be,” McCallum noted.

Photo: Dryden Ice Dogs head coach Kurt Walsten addresses his players before a practice from earlier this week.

STANDINGS: 1. Kam River Fighting Walleye, 45 points (22-3-1) 2. Red Lake Miners, 34 points (16-3-2) 3. Thunder Bay North Stars, 33 points (15-7-3) 4. Dryden Ice Dogs, 33 points (16-9-1) 5. Wisconsin Wilderness, 18 points (8-18-2) 6. Thief River Falls Norskies, 11 points (5-15-1) 7. Fort Frances Lakers, 4 points (2-19-0). *** Thief River Falls has shut down operations for the remainder of the season due to a lack of players. ***

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