New blood in the Fort Frances Lakers’ lineup also meant a new outcome—but not the one the squad was hoping for.
Former Laker Ben Smaha scored the game-winner in the third period last night as the host Dryden GM Ice Dogs won 4-2—their first in nine tries this season against Fort Frances.
The Ice Dogs (22-7-2-2) look intent on making it a race for first place in the SIJHL as the win pulled them within three points of the Lakers (25-6-0-1).
The Lakers suffered their third-straight loss in the season debut of Fort Frances natives Nolan and Davis Ross, along with forward Matt Tustin, after the trio were picked up at Sunday’s CJHL trade deadline.
Troy Williams put Dryden up 1-0 with a power-play goal in the first period before Nic Noseworthy made it 2-0 in the second.
Jason Wilson bulged the twine 33 seconds into the third, with Tustin earning an assist for his first point as a Laker.
Roshen Jaswal then netted the equalizer at 3:34.
But Smaha reeled in the face-off win by Braeden Allkins and wired a shot past Brandon
Bodnar three minutes later to make it 3-2.
Williams added an empty-netter with 38 seconds left to ice the victory.
Goalie Troy Pierce made 23 saves in his Ice Dogs’ debut and also assisted on Williams’ second marker.
Pierce came to Dryden from the Neepawa Natives (MJHL), where he only posted a 4-16 record this season, along with a lofty 6.16 GAA and lowly .866 save percentage.
Bodnar made 29 stops for the Lakers starting in place of Pierce Dushenko, who didn’t play the third period against the Thunder Bay North Stars on Friday due to a lower-body injury.
Dushenko was on the bench in a back-up role last night.
The Lakers will try to get back into the win column tomorrow when they host the Minnesota Iron Rangers at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The Ice Dogs then are in town Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. clash.