FORT FRANCES, Ont. – Justin Pitari picked up his first two Superior International Junior Hockey League goals, of which one was the game-winner, as the Dryden GM Ice Dogs held off the Fort Frances Lakers 4-3 Friday at Ice for Kids Arena.
Pitari started the scoring just past the seven-minute mark of the first period as he redirected a right point shot from Dryden defenceman Amraj Gill to give the guests the lead.
The visitors then added to their cushion early in the second stanza with Nolan Marshall knocking in a feed from close range off the stick of Malcolm Huemmert on a mini two-on-one.
It was more from the GM Ice Dogs at 9:01 as Cortez Favot deflected a shot by Brandon Marshall that was fired from just inside the blueline to put the guests up by three for his initial league tally.
Fort Frances battled back getting goals from Kaleb Bruyere and Steven Swain four and half minutes apart to pull within one.
However, Pitari picked up another in the final minute of the middle session from the top of the crease as Dryden carried a 4-2 cushion into the third.
The final stanza saw Michael Chapman pick-up his third assist of the evening for the Lakers as his long pass found Noah Loveday on a breakaway where he made no mistake on his chance to bring the home side back to within one at 1:36.
The GM Ice Dogs tightened up from there the rest of the way, which went scoreless, to pull out the road decision.
Fort Frances held a narrow 38-37 edge in shots with Jacob Anthony picking up the win while Alex Bugeja suffered the setback.
The two long-time rivals will wrap up their home-and-home match-up Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. start at Dryden Memorial Arena.
Photo credit: Clint Bruyere