The Borderland Thunder regained their winning ways last night.
Bouncing back from Wednesday’s loss, the Thunder grabbed the early lead and then relied on their stingy defence to claim a 3-1 victory over the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs at the Fort William Gardens last night.
The Thunder now lead the best-of-seven semi-final series 3-1 and will look advance to the SIJHL final with a win in Game 5 tomorrow at 7:30 p.m at the Ice for Kids Arena.
Last night’s game followed the same script for the first two games here last week, where the Thunder controlled the first period and left the Bulldogs rattled.
“It was important to come out and jump on them early and take advantage of some of their errors,” Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan said this morning, only seven hours after his team arrived home at 2 a.m.
With only two minutes gone in the first, Kevin Webb wired the puck past Bulldogs goalie Keith Anderson to nab a 1-0 lead.
Chad Baldwin scored on another pickpocket job on a four-on-three power play to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead.
Trevor Karasiewicz, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, scored three minutes into the third period and then led a barrage of forwards at goalie Rob Hrabec, who turned them all away.
He stopped 25 of 26 shots.
Kyle Prystupa put the Bulldogs to bed with an long empty-net goal in the dying minutes.
“We fought our best, we just couldn’t get it by [Hrabec],” said Bulldogs head coach Brian Vescio. “We’re not out of it. It’s up to the players.
“That’s all you can ask—a chance to get something going Saturday.”
Strachan said his team is firmly in the driver’s seat again but remains cautious about tomorrow’s game.
“In front of our crowd, we have success in our building,” he said. “[But] we’re going to have to work hard for it.”
There were no major injuries to report in last night’s game. Injured defenceman Ryan Hampton did not play and likely won’t suit up tomorrow night, either.
Tickets for that game only be available at the door.
Game 6, if necessay, will be played Monday in Thunder Bay, with Game 7 back here Tuesday night if required.
The other SIJHL semi-final series will resume tonight in Dryden, where the host Ice Dogs lead the Feathermen Hawks 2-0. Game 4 goes tomorrow.