The Ice Wolves kicked off a weekend set of neutral site games in a site that isn't so neutral, Coach Bob Beatty's Home Town of Watrous against the Notre Dame Hounds.
The Wolves came away with a solid 5-2 win over the Hounds, and moved to within four points of the Yorkton Terriers for top spot in the SJHL.
Read on to find out how it all went down.
The rink in Watrous looks great. With all the renovations, you wouldn't expect the rink is 45 years old. Lots of people came out to see the game, it was a pretty packed house. The game will also be aired on Access 7 in town as part of a 'hockey day in Watrous'. The teams gave the crowd a great show.
Much to the opposite of what I figured would happen (check my preview), Myles Hovdebo got the start in net for the Wolves. He had another solid game and made some big saves, and has five of his eight wins against the Hounds. Think I can stamp a guarantee that Adam Bartko will start against Nipawin...
Doug Lindensmith started the scoring for the Wolves, his first of two powerplay markers. The Hounds kept up the pressure and stuck right with the Wolves all through the first period, which was to be expected. These teams have played some great games, and I was wondering if this may be the time the Hounds finally pull on out.
Todd Christian brought the Hounds even, adding to the possibility that Notre Dame could win this one. The Wolves were kind of sloppy in the first period, but the Hounds couldn't really capitalize on it. It would cost them.
With about five minutes left in the second, Lindensmith got his second powerplay goal (Ice Wolves PP went 2/6) and the Ice Wolves were starting to roll. It would come to ahead when Skylar Hladun and Justin Ducharme scored only ten seconds apart putting the Wolves up three heading into the third.
Notre Dame could have rolled over and died, but they came out firing, they outshot the Wolves in the third and forced Hovdebo, who had been largely untested through the first two period, to make some key saves. Carson Grolla brought the Hounds within one, but they couldn't get any closer. Taylor Piller made a leaping grab for the puck at the Hounds' blue line and notched an empty netter to make it the 5-3 final.
The Hounds seem to me to be kind of like the Nipawin Hawks. Almost always in games, but just not in them enough to win. I would say the control of the game was pretty much down the middle in this one, and the Hounds had some great opportunities that either just missed or didn't connect. There was a moment in the third when I started into the "he scores" because it looked to be a sure goal, but the puck just rolled wide of the net. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Hounds make a run at some point after the break.
There was a little craziness in this one I should get to, it started with Kale Derkson absolutely rocking Logan Herauf (who's wearing #16 now) with a body check, clean hit. Robert Monfore took exception and laid a beating on Derkson. Monfore took the extra 2 and 10, but the Ice Wolves didn't have to go shorthanded, not sure what happened with that one. Monfore's first shift back was after the Ice Wolves had made it 2-1 in the second, and off the draw, Brennen Dishko said/did something, I don't know and the two went at it. This was one of those fights where the guys are rolling on the ice throwing punches. It took the linesmen a good 30 seconds- a minute to peel them apart and the talking went all the way to the penalty box. Dishko got an instigator, so I don't believe the staged fight rule will come into effect, and having been there I don't think it should. This was spontaneous, just off the draw.
There's not a whole ton to say about this win, just a solid all around effort from La Ronge. Could it have been better? Yeah, but really, no major complaints from my sheltered stand point. As for the coaching staff, they seemed pleased with the win and how everything went aside from some of the sloppiness in the opening frame.
1. Doug Lindensmith - 2 G
2. Todd Christian - 1 G
3. Skylar Hladun - 1 G, 1A
Check back soon, I should have an abbreviated preview for the Hawks and Wolves game in Prince Albert.