The Fort Frances Lakers quickly are learning why the Dryden GM Ice Dogs have been the cream of the crop in the SIJHL the past few seasons.
A pair of weekend wins, including a 7-2 romp Friday night and then a 5-2 win on Saturday, has the Ice Dogs up 2-0 in their best-of-seven semi-final playoff series heading into Game 3 tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. the Ice For Kids Arena.
Trey Palermo scored a goal and added an assist to pace the Ice Dogs' attack Saturday night.
Cory Dennis, recipient of the SIJHL's top defenceman award this season, opened the scoring for the Ice Dogs 13:36 into the first period.
Palermo notched his goal in the second before Graham Oliphant made it 3-0 with 43 seconds left before intermission.
The Lakers trimmed the gap to 2-1 on the first shift of the third off the stick of Noah Loveday.
But the Ice Dogs countered a couple of shifts later after corralling a loose puck in the slot and getting it over to an open Tristan Simm, who netted his first SIJHL playoff goal over a sprawled out Ismael Ralsten to make it 3-1.
Dustin Roitelman brought the visitors back to within two at the tail-end of a five-minute power play.
But Trevor Kavanaugh capped scoring with a power-play effort of his own at 16:34.
Jacob Gnidziejko made 23 saves in earning the win while Ralsten turned aside 25 shots in taking the loss.
It was all Dryden on Friday night. The Ice Dogs needed just 33 seconds to get on the board as rookie Evan Walls notched his first career SIJHL playoff marker.
Eric Stout then made it 2-0 three minutes later.
The Lakers countered with markers from Ian Jarvis and Adam Withers later in the frame to knot the score at 2-2 after 20 minutes.
It remained tied until just past the 12-minute mark of the second when Reid Manning buried the eventual game-winner.
Dryden defenceman Brendan Jay then fired one home at 17:50 as the Ice Dogs carried a 4-2 lead into the final frame.
Jacen Bracko notched an early goal in the third before Matthew Pitchenese and Ted Davis rounded out the scoring.
Gnidziejko made 22 saves for the win while Ralsten stopped 34 shots in a losing cause.