Fighting Walleye Edge Ice Dogs in Intense Battle

By Walleye Staff

Oliver Paipoonge, ON – The two top teams in the SIJHL went toe-to-toe on Friday night, and from the drop of the puck the fans at NorWest Arena were witness to playoff-level intensity and effort. It was the home team that got on the board first, Riley Borody taking a rebound off a Kyle Lamoureux point shot and depositing it in the back of the net. Borody’s 3rd in an Orange and Black jersey came just a minute and a half into the game. The Ice Dogs responded right back, like good teams do, as just 30 seconds later Ben Hackl scored his 8th of the season to square things up at one. Things appeared to be heading toward a first intermission deadlock, but Brodie McLeod, with his 3rd of the year, and Josh Pufal, with his 2nd, scored goals late in the period to stake the Walleye to a 3-1 lead at the break.

The physicality, and the penalty minutes, escalated in the second period. After Jack Cook rifled home a wrist shot through the 5-hole just 17 seconds into the frame, a powerplay goal that was his 10th of the campaign, the Ice Dogs turned it up and controlled most of the back half of the period. Down 4-1, the Dogs wouldn’t quit, scoring two straight goals before the period was over to make it a tight game again. First, Landen Stromme banged home his 15th of the season midway through the 2nd. Then, with 3 minutes to play in the middle stanza, Max Roby scored his 11th, on the powerplay, to close the gap to one goal.

The third period action was fast and physical, the parade to the penalty box continuing as both clubs fought for every square inch of ice. Newly acquired 20-year-old Noah Kramps would slide home a powerplay goal at the 4-minute mark of the period to give his team a 5-3 lead. It was the Spruce Grove, Alberta native’s 2nd goal in as many games as a member of the Fighting Walleye. Dryden found another gear as the period wore on, pushing as hard as they could for the all-important next goal. But Eric Vanska stood tall in the Walleye net, pushing aside all 11 third-period shots he faced to preserve the victory for the home side. Ethan Lang sealed the win with an empty netter at the 18:48 mark of the period. In total, Vanska stopped 34 of 37 shots to record his league-leading 17th victory of the season.

The two teams meet again on Saturday night at NorWest, which looks to be the marquee matchup of the
SIJHL regular season up to this point. Puck drop is 7:30 PM.
G and G Excavating 3 Stars

3rd Star – Brodie McLeod KRW
2nd Star – Landen Stromme – DRY
1st Star – Jack Cook – KRW