While the start of their pre-season left something to be desired, Arborg Ice Dawgs general manager/goaltender coach Corey Strachan believes his team can make another playoff run in its second season in the Capital Region Junior Hockey League.
The Ice Dawgs were shut out by the North Winnipeg Satelites 4-0 in an exhibition game at Gimli Recreation Centre on Sept. 21. Game statistics were unavailable at press time. It was the teams’ first action since the Satelites eliminated Arborg in six games during their semifinal playoff series last March. Both teams were tied for second place at the end of the season with 46 points but the Ice Dawgs (15-16-1) had one more regulation win than North Winnipeg to take second spot.
“We came up a little short, but our team did pretty well down the stretch,” Strachan told The Interlake Spectator. “We’re going to build off that and we’ll ice a team that will take us to the semifinals, if not the finals this year.”
Arborg will be without its two top scorers from last season, Colton Davies (27 goals, 18 assists) and Derric Gulay (12 goals, 24 assists), but others will be returning to the lineup such as forwards Josh Roche and Connor Dowhy, top scoring defenseman Dylan Furgala and goaltender Tre Strachan, who had spent time with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Selkirk Steelers and the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League’s Stonewall Jets in training camp. Former Interlake Lightning Blaine Wishnowski will join the team on a full-time basis this season.
“I think we’re going to be a hard working, grittier team; it’s going to be a team effort. We’re going to need to be firing on all cylinders to have a good shot at winning hockey games and putting ourselves into the top of the standings,” Strachan said. “I think it’s going to be a ‘meat and potato’ team.”
The Ice Dawgs will open their season against the Lundar Falcons at the Arborg and District Arena on Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m.