FORT FRANCES, Ont. – The Dryden GM Ice Dogs rode the strength of a Jacen Bracko hat trick to lead his side to a 7-2 triumph over the Fort Frances Lakers Tuesday evening in Game 3 of their Superior International Junior Hockey League semifinal series at Memorial Arena.
With the win, the GM Ice Dogs take a commanding 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven match-up heading into Game 4 Thursday night back in Fort Frances at 7:30 p.m.
Dryden picked up the lone tally of the opening frame nine minutes into the contest as Malcolm Huemmert’s stuffed in his initial SIJHL playoff marker off a goal-mouth scramble.
The GM Ice Dogs then went up by two 5:12 into the middle session as they corralled a neutral zone turnover that allowed the visitors to break in on a two-and-one with SIJHL MVP Bracko whistling one past Fort Frances netminder Ismael Ralsten from the left face-off circle.
Using a defender as a screen, Adam Withers put the Lakers on the board with 8:11 remaining in the second as he whipped a shot from the high slot that eluded Jacob Gnidziejko in the Dryden goal.
Bracko added his second of the night in the third as he broke in all along on a shorthanded breakaway and made no mistake at 5:48.
Fort Frances came right back though at the tail end of the same man advantage with Ian Tookenay finishing off a shot from close range.
Ted Davis answered that for the visitors less than a minute later before Bracko finished off his hat trick from close range with a quick deke to his right before putting the puck into the open side for a power play goal.
Huemmert’s second added to the Dryden cushion before Carson Lux capped off the onslaught during a late two-man advantage.
In all six different GM Ice Dogs produced multi-point nights in the one-sided decision.
Gnidziejko made 22 saves to pick up the win while Ismael Ralsten faced 44 shots in a losing cause for the Lakers.
No. 1 Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. No. 5 Fort Frances Lakers
Dryden leads best-of-seven series 3-0
Game 1: Dryden 7 Fort Frances 2
Game 2: Dryden 5 Fort Frances 2
Game 3: Dryden 7 Fort Frances 2
Game 4: Thursday, April 5 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. CT (Ice for Kids Arena)
Game 5*: Sunday, April 8 @ Dryden 4 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
Game 6*: Monday, April 9 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. CT (Ice for Kids Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, April 11 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
*- if necessary