Week 24, the last week of the regular season, was shortened by a winter storm.
Kam River earned a first round bye. Dryden takes on Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout faces off against Wisconsin, and Thunder Bay and Red Lake tangle in first-round best-of-seven action commencing Thursday.
Ryder McMillen won the league scoring title with 71 points. Jacob Lamoureux had 35 goals and led all rookies with 50 points. The aptly named Max Rath had 150 penalty minutes. Eric Vanska won 27 games, and had five shutouts. Jack Orchard had a 2.34 GAA and Jake Manners had a .931 save percentage.
Dryden scored 229 goals, Kam River allowed 143, The Ice Dogs had 1,532 penalty minutes, and also led the league with a 26.9% PP and 86.9% PK.
Ten players scored 50 points or more.
Kam River 8 @ Fort Frances 0, Tue Mar 14
Kam River scored late in the first, added four in the second and three more in the third to defeat Fort Frances 8-0. Jack Orchard stopped 26 shots to lower his GAA to 2.05, collect his 11th win and record his 4th shutout. Orchard and Eric Vanska have combined for nine whitewashes in the Walleye net.
Jeremy Dunmore notched his 19th with 12 seconds left in the first, on assists from Max Leduc and Josh Morton.
Ethan Lang, Isiah Kinnavanthong (his first of the year), Kennan Reyelts and Euan Morrison counted goals in the second. Kinnavanthong and Reyelts scored 29 seconds apart, and Morrison’s 10th was unassisted.
Kobe Braham scored shorthanded and unassisted at 10:50 of the third, and Max Leduc recorded a pair to end the scoring. Leduc’s 17th at 15:23 was on the powerplay. His 17th and 18th goals were both assisted by Ethan Lang and Dunmore. Dunmore now has 39 helpers on the year–two behind Ryder McMillen for the league lead. Lang has 36 assists.
Kaden Goodwin picked up his first assist of the year on Reyelts’ second period goal.
Brenden Stroble faced 52 shots in the Lakers net.
Morrison also had an assist and Morton had two assists for Kam River.
A pair of fights helped raise the penalty minutes to a combined 42 minutes. The game drew a Fort Frances crowd of 347.
The Lakers have a quick turnaround and 386 km trip to Spooner, WI for Wednesday’s game against Lumberjacks.
Fort Frances 1 @ Wisconsin 2, Wed Mar 15
Two teams used to playing high scoring games played a tight defensive affair in Spooner, WI on Wednesday. Kaden Postal’s second goal of the season turned out to be the game winner as the Wisconsin Lumberjacks eked out a 2-1 win over the Fort Frances Lakers.
Dylan Olsen opened the scoring at 1:18 of the second on assists from Connor McClure and Ryder McMillen. Postal’s goal at 3:54 doubled the lead to 2-0.
Dylan Wedward replied at 11:49 of the third on assists from Kevin Bond and Ian Snooks. Kyler Lowden stopped 15 shots for his 14th win of the campaign. Brenden Stroble was good on 41 of 43.
Five minor penalties were called. All three goals were even strength.
Wisconsin won their third in a row. Fort Frances is winless in seven.
Dryden @ Kam River, Fri Mar 17 PPD: Dryden 7 @ Kam River 3, Sat Mar 18
A snowstorm wiped out game one of the series. On Saturday, Dryden’s number one powerplay scored three unanswered goals in the third period, and James Hooton added one more as the Ice Dogs defeated Kam River 7-3 at Norwest Arena.
The Walleye went with five affiliated players in the match that attracted 825 fans.
The teams went scoreless in the first and made up for lost time by trading three goals each in the second. Dryden saw three one-goal leads dissipate in the middle frame.
Kaden Bandura scored his 8th on a rebound at 5:50. Riley Borody scored from a sharp angle to beat starter Eric Clark to tie it.
Hooton notched his 27th on a rebound to re-up the lead. Euan Morrison’s tip evened the score. Brady Frattinger scored his 28th on another rebound, but Logan Gallagher sniped blocker side with under a second left to tie it at three-all.
Dryden poured in four in the third.
Landen Stromme’s 24th from the slot stick side, Jack Cullen’s shot through traffic, Max Roby’s 18th on a rebound–all on Dryden powerplays–salted away the win. Hooton’s shot from long range closing out the scoring. A pair of fights broke out with under 2:30 left.
Both teams were assessed 20 penalty minutes. Orchard’s record dropped to 11-5-0 on the season, while Clark stopped 38 for his 22nd win. Kam River outshot Dryden 41-39.
Fort Frances @ Sioux Lookout, Fri Mar 17 PPD: Fort Frances 2 @ Sioux Lookout 4, Sat Mar 18
Jake Manners won his 21st of the year with 45 saves and Lucas Trimarchi had a goal and an assist as the Sioux Lookout Bombers dispatched the improving Fort Frances Lakers 4-2 before 438 fans at the Hangar.
Tegan Neuman shelved a glove-side snipe at 4:48 of the first. Trimarchi bagged his 16th 1:52 later, beating Fort Frances’ Brenden Stroble with a one-timer from the slot.
Dylan Wedward tightened the score to 2-1 with on a second period powerplay goal at 17:05.
The Bombers outscored Fort Frances 2-1 in the third.
Graeme Patrick’s backhander just 23 seconds in upped the Bomber lead to two. Wedward’s second of the game–his 16th–clawed the Lakers back to within one.
Mitchell Daines scored with 4:10 left on a Bomber powerplay, and Fort took a late penalty to seal the deal.
Sioux Lookout captured third place by three points over the North Stars with the win. Poor road conditions kept Thunder Bay from playing Red Lake.
Connor Burke had a pair of assists for the Bombers. Manners and upped his save percentage to .931 to lead the league.
Both team were 1-3 with the man advantage.
Thunder Bay @ Red Lake, Fri Mar 17 PPD : Thunder Bay @ Red Lake, Sat Mar 18 PPD
Quarterfinal opponents Thunder Bay and Red Lake battle in Thunder Bay on Thursday to kick off the 2023 SIJHL playoffs.