Photos: Kerri-Ann Kanceruk
By Mike Ebbeling
Dryden, ON – A complete team effort and a strong defensive showing propelled the Wisconsin Lumberjacks to a big 4-2 victory in hostile territory Sunday.
It was a defensive struggle to start the game as both Dryden GM and Wisconsin protected their own zone in a tight checking affair. Scoring opportunities were few and far between but the visiting Lumberjacks capitalized on their best chance. A great individual effort by Dillon Phillips kept the play alive and he found Nolan Fowler who buried his 5th of the year for the only goal of the opening frame. Ryan Kayser also picked up an assist. The Lumberjacks would continue to clamp down in their own end limiting Dryden GM to only 8 shots on starting goalie Rylan Freshwater with very few high quality scoring opportunities. The Lumberjacks would reply with 7 shots on Michael O’Sullivan.
The Ice Dogs would open the second period with a quick powerplay as Kaden Postal was caught for hooking. At the tail end of the man advantage McLaren Paulsen tipped home a shot from the point to fool Rylan Freshwater tying the game at one. Sean Smith and Tag Bryson were credited with assists. However, Wisconsin bounced back right away on a tip-in goal of their own. Connor Corcoran let one fly from the blueline and it was redirected in by Postal to make it 2-1. The play started on an Ice Dogs turnover. Marshall Thomas earned the second assist. The Lumberjacks would add to their lead about 4 minutes later as Dillon Phillips found a seam and scored his 4th of the season following another turnover. Nolan Fowler and Zach Johnson had the two assists. The Lumberjacks controlled the play after that but Dryden GM would catch a break with one minute remaining. Paulsen chipped the puck off the boards to a free wheeling Max Roby who danced in and fired a wrist shot past Freshwater to cut the lead to one. Final shots in the period were 19-8 in favour of the Ice Dogs.
Wisconsin would start the third period with a lengthy 5-on-3 but Michael O’Sullivan made a number of key saves to keep the deficit at one. However, penalty trouble continued to haunt the home team limiting their chances for a comeback as the Ice Dogs failed to register a shot for the first 6 or so minutes of the period. A window of opportunity presented itself with about 8 minutes to play as Dryden GM went on a powerplay, however the Lumberjacks continued their staunch defensive play and kept the number of quality scoring opportunities to a minimum. The Wisconsin defence didn’t break for the remainder of the period forcing the Ice Dogs to pull their goalie. With 41 seconds left in regulation and the faceoff outside the Lumberjacks zone, Dillon Phillips cleanly won a faceoff back to Connor Corcoran who fired the puck from his own zone into the empty net for the clinching goal. Wisconsin ended up outshooting Dryden GM 9-7 in the period.
- Max Roby-Dryden GM (1 goal)
- Nolan Fowler-Wisconsin (1 goal, 1 assist)
- Dylan Freshwater-Wisconsin (32 saves)