Sorry for not having anything up on the last couple of games.  I slept until some time in the afternoon yesterday after getting back to La Ronge after 6 a.m. and decided not to touch anything sports related, until that wild World Series Game 6.  Absolutely nuts!  Unfortunately Game 7 runs at the same time as the 
Ice Wolves/Klippers game so naturally, I won't be there... I jest.

I'm going to try the PVR/bury head in sand tactic and see how speed watching the game goes.  So nobody tell me the score please.  I'll be shutting down my phone as well, so I'm going all out on this.  Back to the hockey.

The game in the Battlefords was a bit flat on both sides.  Bob Beatty described a lack of urgency which pretty much sums it up on both sides, though the defence was pretty good.  It was going to beauty or garbage that would beat Rajotte or Hildebrand on Tuesday, unfortunately it was garbage.

Brilliant pass from Blake Tatchell to start it off then two fanned shots eventually resulted in the puck tottering over the goal line off the post.  One of the saddest game winners I've ever seen.  Especially for the Wolves that had a miraculously open net with a puck in the crease and 5 bodies crashing somehow repel the puck from the goal line.  I'm still trying to work out the physics on that one.  Solid puck seemingly travels through 10 solid skates and 5 solid sticks... go figure.

 
Before pulling out of the parking lot today, the veterans on the Ice Wolves got a pleasant surprise as they were presented with their 2011 SJHL Championship Rings.

There was a lot of excitement on the bus as one by one, the few remaining returnees from that team raced from the back to the front to receive one more reward for their labour through last season.  I’ll have pictures of the rings along with a quick video of the guys making the dash to the front of the bus when I get the chance to upload them.

But now to the task at hand.  The Ice Wolves are on a quick two game road trip to the Battlefords tonight and Kindersley tomorrow.  The North Stars and Ice Wolves have split their season series, both winning games on home ice.

 
This is where you'll find the live blog for the Ice Wolves and Bruins contest at the JRMCC on Saturday, October 22.
 
After spending last weekend in Estevan, the Ice Wolves will now actually play against Estevan.  Yes, it may have been a little odd that the Wolves went all the way down to the Energy City to face one of their shortest drives in Nipawin, but hey, it was a good game.  Now the Bruins get to make the long drive and from what I gather, got here last night.

The Bruins are off to a pretty good start this season, sitting first in the Sherwood Conference with a record of 9-and-5.  This will be a good measuring stick for the Ice Wolves to make sure that 3-2 OT win over Nipawin wasn't a fluke.  We've seen how strong the Wolves can play at home and they've got some good competition to play against this weekend.

 
Slightly misleading title as the Ice Wolves snapped their seven game road losing streak at Notre Dame two nights prior, but the trip still could have gone either way on the weekend.  With a game against Weyburn, who the Wolves hadn't seen yet and the toast of the league in the Hawks; the Wolves could have been right back into trouble.

Instead, La Ronge jumped back into the mix in the Bauer Conference with a 5-2 win over the Red Wings and in what was the best game in the first half of the weekend, a 3-2 OT win over Nipawin.
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Just shy of a sellout for the Wolves 11 a.m. contest against Weyburn

 
This is where I'm trying to set up the live blog for Friday's game.  So check back for updates as the game gets closer.

If all goes according to plan, I'll be able to post in real time and take questions from readers.
 
Coming into the second game of a four game road trip having lost seven in a row away from the Mel, something had to give for the Wolves.  It turned out to be a stellar game from Myles Hovdebo that got the Wolves back in the win column with some help in the shootout from Aaron Enns to snag the 2-1 win.

On the big ice at Notre Dame, shots and scoring chances can be a little tough to come by at times as plays get swallowed up on the expanse.  Okay, it's not quite that bad, but there's still a large amount of icing calls that can be directly attributed.  When the chances did come Wednesday night, they tended to swing in bunches.

Both Hovdebo and Ty Reichenbach were excellent between the pipes as it looks like the Hounds have another top goalie candidate in the early going.

 
The Ice Wolves got the start they were looking for in Humboldt.  They played a nearlyperfect road period and were rewarded with a lead heading into the second period. Thesecond was not quite so solid. Mistakes were once again the name of the game synthesisIce Wolves have up the puck a few times in their own end or at the blue line resulting ijgoals. When it was all said and done, the Wolves fell 5-1 to the Broncos.

Aside from a couple of gaffes, the first period was a brilliant start by the Wolves. Theyweathered a couple of storms from the Broncos and just kept their pressure up whilemaking smart passes on the breakout and in the offensive zone.  The Wolves would reapthe benefits of their hard work when Graham Smerek and Skyler Hladun teamed up towork the puck to Matt Weisensel who fired a seeing eye shot around Hladun to beatDeven Dubyk for his first SJHL goal. The marker coming late in the frame set theWolves up for success in the second, but they didn't capitalize.

A different Ice Wolves team showed up for the second period. More akin to the squad Iwatched in Flin Flon than the team that had just played a fantastic road period. Thegiveaways were the key in the second. I'm sounding like a broken record, but this couldhave been a winnable game for the Ice Wolves if not for the mistakes made. Give creditto the Broncos, because they are certainly a team that will take advantage of any errorsbecause any line can score.  That was demonstrated in this game as three different linesfactored in on the second period scoresheet.

After allowing four in the second period, and a fifth shortly after the commencement ofthe third, the Wolves were all but done. That said, they battled all the way to the finalbuzzer. That's something that impresses me about this team. Since that tough road trip tostart the season, the Wolves haven't given up in any game where they've been behind.The effort is always there.

I'll wrap up this quick recap with Alex Rajotte. He played fantastic tonight, which willcertainly be overshadowrd by the five goals allowed. In the battle of former MajorJunior backups, he was the stronger goalie tonight. If not for some downright heroicsaves by Rajotte in the third, this game may well have wrapped up in the double digits.

Three Stars

1. Joey Davies (F) - HBLT - 2 G
2. Alex Rajotte (G) - LR - 26 Saves
3. Ryan Marshall (F) - HBLT - 1 G, 1 A
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The Wolves continue their journey South to face the Notre Dame Hounds. Having lost 3in a row and now 7 in a row on the road, it will be a new type of chore to defeat theHounds on their home ice. There will be a lot more space for the Wolves to cover incase of a costly giveaway, so it will need to be a full 60 of hockey like the first periodagainst Humboldt.

I'll have the call of the game starting with the pre-game show at 7: 45.

-D
 
Once again, I find myself writing for this blog on the bus, headed to or from the Ice Wolves’ latest road destination.  Through the Wolves first eleven games, seven of those have been away from the Mel, and it’s about to become eleven of fifteen.  Yes, the Wolves have a pretty harsh travel schedule in the early going, not quite the ideal situation for a squad still struggling to find consistency on a nightly basis.  While that tends to be the issue for many Junior hockey teams in the early going, the Wolves have been particularly Jekyll and Hyde-ish.

The Ice Wolves appeared to turn the corner on a three game homestand that saw the Wolves only allow four goals in three games and score thirteen of their own.  Then Thanksgiving weekend left the Wolves wondering what went wrong as they fell by 9-5 and 6-2 scores to the Flin Flon Bombers.

Having lost six in a row on the road (they lost 6 in regulation all last season) the Wolves head on another 4 in 5 night trip starting tonight in Humboldt and wrapping up in Estevan with the Showcase.  The trip includes two games against Notre Dame and one against the Hawks.  Tonight’s contest is an important one for the Wolves up against a team that dominated them thoroughly in their last outing.  It’s a chance for a little redemption for the Wolves, but more importantly, to pick up a W on the road which hasn’t been an easy task.

 
The Ice Wolves hit the cut-across to Flin Flon with hopes of being over .500 by the end of the weekend.  The Bombers had other plans for their thanksgiving weekend, outscoring the Wolves by eight goals over the two contests. 

There were a couple bright spots for the Wolves, but not many on a disappointing weekend for La Ronge.  Both games showed a regression for the Wolves who seemed to sort out many of their problems from past games when they were on home ice.  The plus side to that was the Wolves offence continued to pick up goals, scoring seven in the two games.

As Bob Beatty put it in a pre-game interview, you can score 17 points, but if you’re minus 27, it doesn’t do much good.  He was speaking on an individual basis, but it applies to the results on the scoreboard.