Three Dog Night for Dryden


By
April 3, 2022

Placing third in the regular season standings of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League with a .622 winning percentage from a record of 26-15-4, the Dryden Ice Dogs subsequently swept the opening round of the best of five playoffs against the sixth slotted Fort Frances Lakers. 

And as Dryden got past Fort Frances and into the semi-finals, the Ice Dogs are seemingly well positioned to be able to compete with the second seed Red Lake Miners in a best of seven series that begins this week.

But it won’t be easy. Red Lake fashioned a .797 winning percentage from a record of 28-6-3.

Meantime, Dryden was all over Fort Frances in sweeping the first round series in three straight games. 

The Ice Dogs scored 5-0, 4-1 and 9-0 victories, outscoring the overmatched Lakers 18-1 in the process. What may be even more telling about the three decisive wins is that Dryden outshot Fort Frances by a lopsided 171 to 57 margin.

LEADERS OF THE PACK

No less than nine Ice Dogs averaged a point per game in the three game sweep of Fort Frances.

Captain Cameron Ware led the way with three goals, five assists, eight points. Then it was Brady Frattinger with 2-4-6 totals, Jackson Jacques with 1-5-6 numbers, regular season league MVP Maxime Collette and Nakoda Thunderchief both with 1-4-5 totals, and Jordan Gagnon with 1-3-4 statistics. And three players all had three points apiece — Bryce Benfield and Lane Snell were both 2-1-3 while Ondrej Bardos was 1-2-3.

Notably, Jacques, Gagnon and Snell are all defenseman. And of further note, Snell’s first two SIJHL goals came after 17 regular season games with Dryden in which he netted two assists without finding the back of the net. (see above photo by Kerri-Ann Kanceruk of Snell’s first playoff goal.)

NET WORTH

After sharing the Dryden net with 19-year olds Eric Clark and Mason Matthew down the stretch of the regular season, 20-year old Cole Johnston got the starting nod between the pipes for the Ice Dogs to begin the playoffs.

All Johnston did was post a 3-0-0 record with a 0.33 goals against average and .982 save percentage with two shutouts.

PENALTY ISSUES

If Dryden hopes to contain Red Lake in the second round, best of seven series, it might want to spend less time in the penalty box.

In the three games series with Fort Frances, the Ice Dogs racked up 129 minutes in penalties, misconducts included. Taking that many penalties against Red Lake might prove to be a risky way of doing business for Dryden, especially given the prolific power play that the Miners possess under head coach Geoff Walker.

To be sure, Red Lake has multiple, dangerous offensive weapons led by forwards Jordan Baranesky, Ryan Hunter, Brady Harroun, Nic Bolin, Ryan Howe and Mathieu Belanger and point per game defenseman Kenyon Nyman.


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