Jacen Bracko recorded a hat trick to pace the Dryden GM Ice Dogs to a 7-2 romp over the Fort Frances Lakers in Game 3 of their best-of-seven semi-final series Tuesday night at the Ice For Kids Arena.
With the Ice Dogs holding a commanding 3-0 series lead, the Lakers face a must-win situation heading Game 4 here tonight at 7:30 p.m.
If the Lakers extend the series, Game 5 would be played Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Memorial Arena in Dryden.
Game 6 (if necessary) will be back here on Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Should the series go the distance, Game 7 would be played next Wednesday (April 11) at 7:30 p.m. back in Dryden.
Malcolm Huemmert opened the scoring for Dryden just under nine minutes into the game Tuesday when he jammed home his first career SIJHL playoff goal during a goalmouth scramble.
Bracko then upped the lead to two at 5:12 of the second when he burst into the Lakers' zone on a 2-on-1 and whistled a shot past goalie Ismael Ralsten from the left face-off circle.
Adam Withers gave the Lakers some life when he trimmed it to 2-1 with 8:11 left in the period.
Using a defender as a screen, he snapped a shot from the high slot that eluded Ice Dogs' goalie Jacob Gnidziejko.
Bracko notched his second of the game 5:48 into the third when he broke in on a short-handed breakaway and made no mistake to make it 3-1.
Ian Tookenay brought the Lakers back to within a goal less than a minute later when he fired home a shot from close range just after the power play had expired.
But Ted Davis answered at 7:35 to give the visitors a two-goal cushion yet again.
Seemingly getting more frustrated as the game wore on, the Lakers became unhinged and made a parade to the penalty box.
Bracko completed his hat trick when he made a quick deke to his right before putting the puck into the open side for a power-play goal at 9:05.
Huemmert's second of the night on another power play added to the lead before Carson Lux capped scoring during a late two-man advantage.
Gnidziejko made 22 saves to earn the win while Ralsten turned aside 37 shots in taking the loss.