Borderland Thunder head coach Wayne Strachan admitted he was getting ready to come back to the Memorial Sports Centre hallways after their game against Dryden, and explain how their power play let them down and the opposing goalie stole the win.
But then Kevin Webb went on a roll. Down 3-1 with just over three minutes to go, the Thunder cashed in twice on a five-on-three advantage to earn a 3-3 draw last night with the Ice Dogs, maintaining a share of second place with Dryden in the Superior International Junior Hockey League standings.
First Webb made a cross-ice pass to Terry Parisien, who one-timed a shot off the far right side of goalie Ice Dogs Ryan McGillis.
He then whistled past three defenders from just outside the red line to cut in and slice a perfect shot over McGillis’ left shoulder to electrify the once-silent Fort Frances crowd.
“[The outside lane] was what they’ve been giving me all game because they clogged the middle,” said Webb. “I just saw the opening and I came in and took the shot.
“Luckily, it went upstairs.”
Webb even had a glorious chance to win the game with 30 seconds to go after getting a clear breakaway but he fanned on the shot after deking out McGillis.
Dryden had just earned three consecutive minor penalties, the last one being an unsportsmanlike conduct call against head coach Al Trotz, which saw him ejected from the game.
“I have nothing to say. No comment,” said a disgruntled Trotz afterwards.
Strachan said his team never gave up and took the play to the Ice Dogs, outshooting them 20-4 in the third period and 36-17 overall.
“We thought the team was controlling the play for most of the game,” he noted. “It’s great they kept working hard and rewarded themselves with a couple of goals.
They got a good tie out of it.”
“We outplayed them in the third period,” agreed Webb. “It feels like more like a win.”
The Ice Dogs seemingly had taken advantage late in the second period when Konrad Bruetsch snapped the puck past Thunder goalie Tom Iwaniec on a power play to give Dryden a two-goal cushion.
Justin Bodnarchuk had scored Borderland’s goal on an unassisted short-handed effort minutes earlier.
Linden Penner and Jordan Sitar scored in the first and second periods to give the Ice Dogs an early 2-0 lead.
Strachan said it was crucial the Thunder (7-4-4) drew something positive out of Tuesday night’s game after losing twice to the league-leading Feathermen Hawks 5-3 and 4-3 on the road last weekend.
“It was very important. We had kind of an off-weekend. We played a good game tonight,” he said.
The Thunder next will travel to Thunder Bay for a pair of games this weekend against the Bulldogs at the Fort William Gardens.
Strachan said the Bulldogs (4-6-1) are an improving team, having recently signed Emo native and former Muskie Ross Anderson. “The Bulldogs are an improving team and we’ll have to be at our best to beat them,” he admitted.
The Thunder’s next home action is next Friday Saturday (Nov. 16-17) against the Iron Range Yellow Jackets of Grand Rapids, Mn.