DRYDEN, Ont. – The knack of Ted Davis scoring timely goals for the Dryden GM Ice Dogs was evident once more as his game-winner 8:26 into overtime lifted his side to a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Thunder Bay North Stars Friday evening in Game 5 of the Superior International Junior Hockey League’s Bill Salonen Cup final at Memorial Arena.
With the result, the GM Ice Dogs now lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 heading into Game 6 Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay with a chance to capture their second consecutive SIJHL title while the North Stars will look to force Game 7 Monday back in Dryden.
The hosts opened the scoring nearly seven minutes into the contest as Trevor Kavanaugh walked into a Malcolm Huemmert feed in the slot and wired one high over the glove of Thunder Bay starter Brandon Bodnar for his fourth of the playoffs.
The North Stars would draw level later in the frame during a man advantage as Owen Belisle redirected an Alex Maticic snap a shot that found its way through the legs of Landon Pavlisin in the GM Ice Dogs net.
Bradley Thrower would give the visitors their only lead of the night at 16:40 of the frame, but Connor Mowatt countered 65 seconds later for Dryden to knot the affair at 2-2 after one.
Moving on to the second stanza, the GM Ice Dogs went back in front as Davis bulled his way out of the corner, skated to the middle of the ice and roofed a shot over Bodnar to make it 3-2 with just over six minutes left in the session.
With time running out Thunder Bay’s Brendan Gillis was credited with the equalizer with just 4.8 seconds left in regulation, while on a late power play and with their netminder pulled for an extra attacker, as the official ruled the puck, on edge, had just barely crossed over the goal line before being pulled back by a Dryden defender to knot the affair to send it to extra time.
Moving on to OT, Davis, who also notched the decider in extra time in Game 1 of the series, was the hero once more as he skated down the right wing and blasted the winner past Bodnar from the face-off circle to send the near capacity crowd into a frenzy.
Shots on goal in the contest favoured the North Stars by a 29-27 count with Pavlisin picking up the win while Bodnar suffered the loss.
SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup Final (Series E)
Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. Thunder Bay North Stars
Dryden leads best-of-seven series 3-2
Game 1: Dryden 3 Thunder Bay 2 (OT)
Game 2: Thunder Bay 3 Dryden 2
Game 3: Thunder Bay 2 Dryden 1
Game 4: Dryden 4 Thunder Bay 2
Game 5: Dryden 4 Thunder Bay 3 (OT)
Game 6: Saturday, April 21 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Gardens)
Game 7*: Monday, April 23 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial)
*- if necessary