Oliver Paipoonge, Ontario – The Kam River Fighting Walleye hosted the Dryden GM Ice Dogs at NorWest Arena for the first time on Friday night, and the blossoming rivalry between the two clubs was on full display for 60 minutes.
The play was fast, physical and intense from start to finish. Zach Fortin poked in a loose puck at the 3-minute mark to give Kam River an early 1-0 lead. The Ice Dogs scratched and clawed to even the score, throwing 22 shots at Walleye goaltender Austin Madge in the first period. Their hard work finally paid off, when Dryden's Maxime Collette, the SIJHL's leading scorer, buried a powerplay goal with a minute left in the opening frame to tie the game at 1.
The second period saw both teams trade chances back and forth, but neither goaltender could be beaten. Dryden would manage to kill off an extended 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity for Kam River, and the score remained knotted up into the second intermission.
The deadlock continued into the third period, until Christian Veneruzzo scored a short-handed goal 10 minutes in, to give the Walleye a 2-1 lead. Veneruzzo grabbed the puck off of a Mackenzie Sedgwick faceoff win, and snapped it past Dryden goaltender Jordan Belley to send the home crowd of 414 into a frenzy. The Ice Dogs pushed hard for the equalizer, but Madge would not be beaten, making 19 stops in the third to preserve the win for Kam River. Madge would stop 56 of 57 shots on the night for his 4th win of the season, a fantastic performance for the 20 year old goaltender from Kelowna, BC.
He now ranks first in the SIJHL in both goals against average and save percentage.
The two teams meet again at NorWest Arena on Saturday night, puck drop is 7:30 PM.
3:05 KRW Fortin (1), Asst: Veneruzzo, Lancaster
19:03 DRY Collette (13), Asst: Jacques, Ware (PP)
10:00 KRW Veneruzzo (2), Asst: Sedgwick (SH)
G and G Excavating 3 Stars
1st Star – Austin Madge
2nd Star – Christian Veneruzzo