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Ice Dogs Win On and Off Ice : Hockey: Byce scores game winner in 4-2 victory over Chicago, but vote of confidence by owner is even better.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was time for a vote of confidence, and the Ice Dogs got two.

One was on the ice, where the Ice Dogs scored three third-period goals to beat the Chicago Wolves, 4-2, Friday night before an announced crowd of 4,029 at the Sports Arena.

The other came from team owner Fred Comrie, who said the team is staying and not folding or moving. Probably not even trading players.

This is hockey, IHL style, and if Comrie said he is ready to lose $500,000 to $2.5 million to keep the Ice Dogs in the Sports Arena for the rest of the season, it seems he will.

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It may not have been the great leap forward, but it’s a definite step up from last week’s pep talk that said management would make every effort to keep the team operating.

“When I came, I wanted to come into the market and build. I expected to lose . . . maybe about half a million,” said Comrie, whose recent loss projections have been from $2 million to $2.5 million. “I have no doubts that we’re going to survive this year. The question is, what is the game plan [after the season]? Long term--I want to be in this market. I don’t think shutting down is an option.”

How bad was it? Players confirmed that there were four players at one point were told that they could expect to be traded right after Hubie McDonough and his $280,000 contract was traded three weeks ago. When Dwayne Norris signed with the Mighty Ducks organization last week, the drop of his $140,000 contract may have saved other players.

Taking on new player John Lilley was a fine investment, however. Lilley, on loan from the Mighty Ducks, is costing the Ice Dogs no money as part of the loan.

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And he paid dividends with a goal and an assist.

Then John Byce gave the Ice Dogs the lead by scoring his second goal of the night on a break-away a minute after Lilley’s.

Jason Cirone’s goal at 9:36 sealed the victory.


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