Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake’s junior hockey team, the Icedogs, kicked off their 2022/23 campaign in fine style, with a pair of 9 – 3 victories on the weekend. Friday’s win came over the Gibbons Pioneers, in Gibbons. In their home opener on Saturday in front of a decent-sized crowd, the Icedogs took care of business against the Fox Creek Ice Kings.

One odd thing about Saturday’s game was that both teams were not wearing their proper jerseys. The Ice Kings appeared to be wearing a rec league team’s outfit; the Icedogs had on the grey and black colours of the Tumbler Ridge Steel Kings!

Icedogs’ owner Lauren Barr provided the explanation. Both teams have new jerseys on order, she said, and both orders were too late in arriving for use on the opening weekend of play. Barr just happened to have the Tumbler Ridge jerseys with her (she’s the owner of that team as well, which plays in the GMHL B.C. Division.)

Jerseys aside, the Icedogs were plainly the better team in Saturday’s game. Not that they don’t have room for improvement.

“We are happy to get the wins and to have found the back of the net regularly over the first two games,” says head coach Andy Meth. “But lots of work to do at our puck management and our play without the puck. (We) need to understand how to be more disciplined, organized and defensively stingy.”

Scoring was pretty well spread out among Icedogs’ players. Nolan Janvier, who has been named team captain, had two goals in Friday’s game. Second-year defenceman Griffin Thiessen had a goal and two assists.

In Saturday’s game, Doug Maughan had the hot hand, with three goals and two assists. His seven points leads the team after two games. Jase Larry also did well, with a goal and three assists. Before joining the Icedogs, Larry played for the Sunny Corner Thunder, in the NBJHL.

Shawn Davis played two periods in net on Friday, giving way to Swedish goalie Filipe Lidh. Lidh started and played about half of Saturday’s game, before Meth pulled him and put in Sydney Costello, the San Diego product.

“All three goalies have looked good in practices and both games,” he says. “They all have great work habits and good attention to detail. I’ve been happy and impressed with all three thus far.”

The Icedogs will likely face some stiffer competition this coming Saturday, when they travel to Enoch to take on the Northern Alberta Tomahawks. The Tomahawks are 1 – 1 after the first weekend of play, having fallen to the defending champion High Prairie Redwings on Saturday, and beaten Fox Creek on Friday. The Icedogs host Edson on Sunday night.