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Lakers fall in opener to ’Dogs


That 12-game winning streak for the Lakers?

That season-long mastery of the Dryden GM Ice Dogs?

That home-ice advantage for the entire SIJHL playoffs?

Forget about all of it—just like the Lakers need to forget about last night as quickly as possible.

Josh Oberg and Tanner Watt each scored twice, and Troy Pierce made 24 saves, as the visiting Ice Dogs stunned Fort Frances 6-2 in Game 1 of the SIJHL final at the Ice For Kids Arena.

The Ice Dogs, just 48 hours removed from a tough six-game semi-final victory over the Thunder Bay North Stars, looked to be the far superior team to a Lakers’ squad that came in with a full week off between games.

Oberg opened the scoring at 14:04 before Watt made the Lakers’ pay for Julian Uhryniuk’s cross-checking penalty at the 19-minute mark to make it 2-0.

Oberg notched his second at 4:19 of the middle frame before Cole Tymkin tried to spark the Lakers with a power-play tally at 10:47.

But any energy gained from that goal disappeared less than three minutes later when Watt connected again with Brandon Zajicek off for cross-checking to put the visitors up 4-1.

Zajicek didn’t see the ice after that and the misery for the Lakers only worsened when Woody Galbraith capitalize on another power play at 1:56 of the third with Nick Minerva off for interference.

That ended the night for Pierce Dushenko, who got the hook after making just 16 saves on 21 shots.

Brandon Bondar came on in relief and the move seemed to energize the Lakers at first.

Roshen Jaswal tried to get the Lakers back into the contest by scoring at 8:03.

But Pierce didn’t surrender any more after that while former Laker Ben Smaha closed things out with an empty-netter at 18:08.

With two days off because of the Border Skating Club’s annual ice show this weekend, the Lakers will try to regroup in time for Game 2 on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.

The series then shifts to Dryden for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Game 5, if necessary, would be back here April 22, with Game 6 set for Dryden on April 23.

Should the series go the distance, the Lakers would host Game 7 on Tuesday, April 26.

The winner advances to the Dudley Hewitt Cup on May 3-7 in Kirkland Lake.

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