GALLERY: Dryden Downs Thunder Bay 5-4

Photos: Kerri-Ann Kanceruk
By Mike Ebbeling
Dryden, ON – It was a great pace to the start of the game as both teams looked sharp with play going end-to-end. Defensive turnovers ended up being the story of the opening frame as two costly giveaways by Thunder Bay resulted in a pair of goals for the home team. The first came in front of starting goalie Ethan Barron. After Luc Fortier and Elias Eisenbarth touched the puck, McLaren Paulsen buried it home for his 10th of the year at 4:59. Play would settle down from there but the Ice Dogs jumped on another North Stars miscue at 11:44. Ryland Maier grabbed a loose puck in the slot and made no mistake picking up his 3rd of the campaign. Sean Smith would be awarded an assist on the play. Thunder Bay would generate some quality chances after that but Liam Vanderkooi was solid in his second start in net finishing with 14 saves in relation to 9 for Dryden GM. The first period was smooth but hard hitting with only one penalty on each side as a result of a goal mount scrum.
Dryden GM would continue to capitalize on the chances they were given and the third goal came on the powerplay. A point shot from Sabastiano Biagi hit Eli Antoine in front of the net but the 19-year-old from LaSalle, Quebec stayed with it and carved the puck in between the legs of Ethan Barron for his 7th of the year. Max Roby was credited with a helper. Another giveaway and another chance with the man advantage resulted in the fourth goal for the Ice Dogs. A shot was kicked out by Barron but landed on the stick of McLaren Paulsen who ended up scoring his second of the contest. That goal marked the end of the evening for Barron but ended up changing the momentum of the game. Thunder Bay would respond carrying the play for much of the second half of the period. An Ice Dogs turnover resulted in the 4th of the year for Dimitri Trahiotis who squeezed the puck past Liam Vanderkooi. Tyler Jordan would pick up the lone assist. Thunder Bay’s powerplay would then go to work. A clean faceoff win by Easton Mikus straight to Edison Weeks allowed Carmeron Dial to get open on the point. He waited for the screen to set up in front of Vanderkooi and fired it past the helpless goalie for his first ever SIJHL goal. Thunder Bay would carry much of the play in the second outshooting Dryden GM 20-13.
Momentum continued for the North Stars in the third and the number one line in the league set the tone 1:15 into the period. EJ Paddington was left alone in front and he turned and scored his 15th of the year with Easton Mikus and Edison Weeks earning assists. The North Stars then capitalized on a break as Dryden’s Max Roby stormed into the offensive zone and fired a laser only to hit the post. Thunder Bay would quickly transition and at 6:42 Keagan Jones stopped just inside the blueline and handcuffed Liam Vanderkooi for his second of the year and the tying goal. However, Dryden GM wouldn’t fold under the pressure of giving up a 4 goal lead as Ryland Maier picked up a loose puck 3 minutes later in the neutral zone, skated down the near wing deep, shooting short side on Keenan Marks fooling the second year goalie for his second of the game. Thunder Bay would answer with several quality opportunities but Vanderkooi would shut the door, including three huge stops on a North Star powerplay late to secure a 5-4 victory and the first SIJHL win for the 20-year-old goalie in only his second start. He would finish with 48 saves. Dryden GM would record a total of 34 shots on Ethan Barron and Marks.
  1. Ryland Maier (DRY): 2 goals
  2. McLaren Paulsen (DRY): 2 goals
  3. Luc Fortier (DRY): 1 assist