It was another loss in the end but you can't fault the effort.
The Fort Frances Lakers played their best game after the Christmas break but ultimately came up on the short end of a 4-3 overtime loss to the visiting Dryden GM Ice Dogs on Friday night at the Ice For Kids Arena.
It marked the Lakers' fourth-straight loss but head coach/general manager Wayne Strachan felt his team made some positive strides.
“If you look at the three games we've played so far in the new year here, [it was] probably our best start,” he said after the game.
“The guys were a lot more focused it seemed," he noted. ”They did a few things different, which I think were very beneficial to getting them ready and, you know, it seemed like they were into it and ready to start.
“We win the first period, put ourselves in a good situation up two goals.”
Although they started well, Strachan conceded things fell apart for his squad in the second period.
“In the second, I thought we maybe stepped back a little bit intensity-wise and you could see it in our game,” he remarked.
"Sloppy plays, sloppy passes, and we weren't reading the ice defensively very well and gave up a lot of odd-man rushes. And because of it, we let them battle back in the game.
"The third period was a dogfight.
“I don't think we gave in any," Strachan stressed. ”[We] kept plugging and lost a few bodies throughout the game, so a lot guys were taxed having played Wednesday night [against the Thief River Falls Norskies], as well.
“I don't think you can fault their effort," he said. "Guys were into it; a big positive step for us.”
The fifth-place Lakers (11-19-1-0) resume action tonight on the road against those same Ice Dogs, who sit in fourth place in the SIJHL (15-12-3-1).
Then they'll cap the week with a pair of home games,