Close, but no cigar.
The Fort Frances Jr. Sabres battled toe-to-toe with the visiting Dryden Ice Dogs on Tuesday night but the outcome was all too familiar in falling 2-1 to the defending SIJHL champs.
Backed by a 36-save effort from goalie Sonny Albert, the Ice Dogs stole a victory from the Sabres’ grasp to earn their first win of the season after back-to-back losses to the Fort William North Stars.
The Sabres, meanwhile, fell to 0-3 after having opened the season with back-to-back losses to the Thunder Bay Bearcats here over the weekend.
Tuesday night’s game turned into a goaltending duel between Albert and the Sabres’ Tanner Sheridan, but Sheridan finally was beaten midway through the second period when Alex Boyd got the visitors on the scoreboard first.
Drew Heinen added a late marker in the second to give the Ice Dogs a 2-0 cushion going into the final 20 minutes, and that lead held up despite a late goal from Sabres’ captain Chris Sinclair with the goalie pulled in favour of an extra attacker.
A lack of goal-scoring continues to haunt the local squad so far, tallying just six goals in their first three games.
And it won’t get any easier as the Sabres host the 2-0 North Stars tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. to wrap up their season-opening four-game homestand.