FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Evan Pakkala tallied three times, including the game-winner in the second period, as the Dryden GM Ice Dogs went on to defeat the Fort Frances Lakers 6-2 Friday night in Game 3 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League quarter-final series at Ice for Kids Arena.
With the outcome, Dryden takes the best-of-five set 3-0 and will now move on to the SIJHL semifinals against either the Thunder Bay North Stars or Red Lake Miners.
Should Thief River Falls prevail over the Minnesota Iron Rangers in the other league quarter-final, the GM Ice Dogs would meet the North Stars in the next round while the Miners would meet the Norskies.
However, if the Iron Rangers rally from a 2-0 series deficit and upend the Norskies, Dryden would take on the Miners and Thunder Bay would tangle with Minnesota.
Friday’s game in the Fort saw the visitors open the scoring as Eric Stout finished off a shorthanded chance with Trey Palermo just over three minutes in.
The Lakers came back to tie it a couple shifts later as Nick Hakala was set-up in the slot where he wired the equalizer past Dryden starter Jacob Anthony.
Pakkala then picked up his first of the evening late in the period as he knocked one in from close range.
He then added the eventual difference maker with the lone goal of the middle stanza as he neatly redirected a feed in front that changed direction and eluded Fort Frances netminder Jacob Gnidziejko at 6:46.
Braden Shea banged in the rebound of a Ryan Brandt point shot at 6:14 of the third to make it 4-1 before Noah Loveday got that back for the home side a minute and a half later.
However, Cameron Coutre added some insurance for the GM Ice Dogs later in the frame before Pakkala finished off his hat trick and the series with a late empty netter to wrap things up.
Tyler Browning and Malcolm Huemmert had two assists apiece to aid the Dryden cause.
Anthony made 25 saves to record the win for the GM Ice Dogs while Gnidziejko was solid once again in the season-ending defeat for the Lakers as he wrapped up his year with a .922 playoff save percentage.
No. 4 Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. No. 5 Fort Frances Lakers
Dryden wins best-of-five series 3-0
Game 1: Dryden 4 Fort Frances 2
Game 2: Dryden 2 Fort Frances 0
Game 3: Dryden 6 Fort Frances 2
Photo credit: Clint Bruyere