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Thunder looking to muzzle Ice Dogs

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Chances are tonight’s game between the Borderland Thunder and visiting Dryden Ice Dogs will go down to the wire—again.

But that’s nothing new for these teams as they face off at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice for Kids arena. Each team has won one, and tied the other two, in four regular-season meetings so far, with Dryden outscoring the Thunder 19-16.

“Both teams are very similar,” said Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan, whose team is unbeaten in their last 12 games. “We both have a lot of speed and play sound defence.

“[Tonight’s] game should be another close one,” he added.

The front-running Ice Dogs (18-8-7) lead the second-place Thunder (16-7-8) by three points in the Superior International Junior Hockey League standings.

Their last showdown in Dryden was a wild affair as both teams traded leads in the third period before Mike English scored late to give the Ice Dogs a 5-5 tie.

Prior to that, the Thunder got two goals from Kevin Webb in the last three minutes to force a 3-3 tie here on Nov. 6.

Both games also were extra rough affairs.

Thunder starting goalie Rob Hrabec, who won his third SIJHL defensive-player-of-the-week honours last week, enters tonight’s game unbeaten in league play.

But he’s had problems against the Ice Dogs, who scored five times on him in last month’s tie.

“It’s hard to get the puck around him [Hrabec] right now. He’s playing well and has a lot of confidence right now,” said Strachan.

Dryden rolls into town with a streak of their own, losing only one of their last nine games.

But English, one of the Ice Dogs’ top offensive players, and goalie Sean Szachury are serving the first of four- and three-game suspensions, respectively, for a brawl with the Thunder Bay KC Bulldogs on Sunday.

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