North Stars hold off late rally to edge GM Ice Dogs

DRYDEN, Ont. – Cody Bruchkowski scored three times and added an assist to give the Thunder Bay North Stars a big lead before his club had to withstand a third period comeback bid by the Dryden GM Ice Dogs and eventually prevailing 6-4 in a Superior International Junior Hockey League meeting Wednesday evening at Memorial Arena.

Down a man, five and a half minutes into the contest, it was Dryden that struck first as Josh Weber took a cross-ice pass on the tape from Justin Pitari and buried a shorthanded marker put the home side in front.

Bruchkowski got that back for the North Stars late in the opening frame as he was sent in alone on a breakaway and snapped home the equalizer at 19:28.

Thunder Bay seemingly took control in the second stanza as they scored four times to go up 5-1 after 40 minutes,

Ben Erwin stuffed one in early in the session before Bruchkowski had two of the goals to hit his hat trick while also reaching 10 in total since joining the club earlier this month.

Also connecting for the visitors was Johnathon McCollum as his rising attempt from the left point went through a crowd for his first SIJHL goal.

Battling back in the third, the GM Ice Dogs converted just six seconds after the faceoff where Weber won it over to Pitari, who sped down the right wing and beat North Stars starter Seth McKay early.

Mark Walchuk brought the hosts closer midway through the third as his long range effort went high to make it a 5-3 game.

Continuing to press, Dryden pulled to within one with just under seven minutes remaining in regulation when Curtis Magas buried one from just inside the blueline.

The GM Ice Dogs then pulled their starter, Jacob Anthony, with a minute and a half to go for an extra attacker, but Erwin broke free on an empty net and secured the road decision for his fourth point of the evening.

Dryden did out shoot Thunder Bay 41-36 on the night with McKay picking up the win while Anthony suffered the loss.

Photo credit: Gary Moskalyk