The final series of the Superior International Junior Hockey League starts today.
The Dryden GM Ice Dogs are looking to keep the SIJHL Bill Salonen Cup at home for a second consecutive year, but they have some work to do against the Thunder Bay North Stars.
Head coach of the Ice Dogs, Kurt Walsten will be up against Rob DeGagne, coach of the North Stars, who was announced as Coach of the Year for the 2017-2018 season.
“We don’t need a lot. We just have to compete. If we outwork Thunder Bay, we’ll beat them easily. If we’re lazy, we put ourselves in a series,” Walsten says.
In DeGagne’s first year as head coach for Thunder Bay, he led his team to a 38-13-4-1 record, which includes an impressive 22-3-1-1 run in the second half of the season. Walsten, who was Coach of the Year for the 2016-2017 season, led his Ice Dogs to a 40-8-6-2 record to earn the No. 1 seed in the postseason.
“In our league, we were the best two teams after Christmas. So, it works out perfect,” Walsten added.
The last match-up between the two teams saw Thunder Bay outscore Dryden 7-2 at the Dog Pound. Prior, Dryden squeaked by with a 5-4 shootout win.
The Ice Dogs will start their quest to “Keep Bill Home” tonight at the Dryden Memorial Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. Game two will be held on Sunday at 4:00 p.m., also in Dryden.
Bill Salonen Cup final
No. 1 Dryden GM Ice Dogs vs. No. 3 Thunder Bay North Stars
Game 1: Saturday, April 14 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
Game 2: Sunday, April 15 @ Dryden 4 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
Game 3: Tuesday, April 17 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Fort William Gardens)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 18 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Fort William Gardens)
Game 5*: Friday, April 20 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
Game 6*: Saturday, April 21 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. ET (Fort William Gardens)
Game 7*: Monday, April 23 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. CT (Memorial Arena)
*- if necessary