BY LINDSAY BRISCOE
The English River Miners toppled the Dryden Ice Dogs in game six of the best-of-seven quarter final series with a final score of 3-2 at the Dryden Memorial Arena tonight.
The Northern Sun News caught up with Miners’ coach Kevin Kahoot over the phone right after the game as he was still reeling from the media coverage and excitement of the evening. He said the atmosphere and energy in the arena was incredible, with about 100 Miners fans who had made the trip decked out in black and gold to show their support and make some noise – a lot of noise.
Miners fans have actually come to be known as some of the most enthusiastic in the league – and rightly so. The team has managed to beat the odds in its first year as a franchise. Having trailed the Ice Dogs most of the season, the Miners achieved their goal of moving ahead of the Ice Dogs into fourth place just before the playoffs kicked off.
Kahoot says the team’s best strength through the quarter finals has been the players’ chemistry. Despite being a team of “misfits,” and despite not having the experience and developed skill set of some of the other teams in the league, the Miners play with heart and are extremely determined, he adds.
After taking the victory in a one vs. two showdown against the Thunder Bay North Stars, the Fort Frances Lakers earned the right to choose their semifinal opponent and opted to take on the winner of the Miners-Ice Dogs series. So while the #4 ranked Miners move on to play the #1 ranked Lakers, the #2 ranked North Stars take on the #3 ranked Minnesota Iron Rangers in round two of the playoffs.
Kahoot says the Miners will have to stay extremely focused as they head into round two, as the Lakers are a tough team to beat.
“We have to stay out of the penalty box. We have to play more disciplined, smarter hockey against Fort. The mistakes we got away with in the series against Dryden, there won’t be the same courtesy against Fort.”
At the time of press the best-of-seven semifinals schedules had not yet been finalized. Visit www.englishriverminers.com for more details and updates.