DRYDEN, Ont. – A Kirk Coppock goal 43 seconds into overtime was the decider as the Fort Frances Lakers defeated the Dryden GM Ice Dogs 4-3 Friday evening in the Superior International Junior Hockey League opener for both sides at Memorial Arena.
Dryden out shot Fort Frances 13-8 in the opening 20 minutes and were rewarded with the night’s opening tally courtesy of captain Trey Palermo.
The Lakers countered in the second stanza though by notching a pair of markers beginning with Brett Hahkala’s first with the club at 1:26 before teammate Chase Robideau’s initial league effort put the visitors in front three and a half minutes later.
Evan Walls did draw Dryden level early in the third only to see MacKenzie Flett put Fort Frances back on top at 4:35.
The two-time defending SIJHL champion GM Ice Dogs answered once more with Walls notching his second of the period with 7:17 remaining to help send it to extra time.
Moving on to OT, Fort Frances would prevail as Nate Drobnick fired the puck around the end boards from own his zone over to Jaedin Ness who in turn sent a cross-ice pass over to Coppock on a two-on-one where he darted down the left side and wired the game-winner past Dryden starter Jordan Wilde to give the visitors their first opening night win since 2015.
Matt Booth was solid in goal for the Lakers making 41 saves to pick up the win while Wilde faced 23 attempts in defeat with his side picking up a point in the setback.
The Lakers continue on the road as they travel to Hoyt Lakes, Minn., Saturday to take on the Minnesota Iron Rangers at 7 p.m.
Dryden meanwhile remains at home as they host their long-time rival, the Thunder Bay North Stars, in a 7:30 p.m. start at Memorial Arena.