It was a pretty quiet ride back to North Battleford after the Ice Wolves fell to their second 7-1 decision in as many games. This one came at the hands of the Kindersley Klippers in what was a reasonably close game through forty minutes.
Though the Klippers held a 3-1 lead heading into the third period, the Wolves had a bunch of chances early on that would have likely led to a happier result at the WCEC. As the Wolves luck has run this season, though, it wasn’t the case. Two shots dead off the post, another that got behind Kindersley netminder, Justin McDonald and trickled just wide, this was a game the Ice Wolves had a very real opportunity to win.
In the final twenty minutes, the Klippers took care of a very graphic dismemberment of any comeback hopes. Two goals within 56 seconds early in the third put the game away and two more later on, only added to the debacle. It also ran the Ice Wolves goal differential to a dismal minus fourteen on their current road trip. That’s 17 goals against versus 3 goals for.
After two lopsided decisions like this there isn’t a whole ton to say that hasn’t already been pointed out by the coaching staff, myself or anyone else observing the games. La Ronge isn’t executing on their chances and it comes back sooner rather than later and bites them hard. It’s tough to get a real read on the team with the lopsided scores, but score hit a three goal spread it was like a, “here we go again,” settled over the team. There were some good momentum shifts that led to scoring chances but other than that it was more of a finish the game off.
There were a couple of bright spots despite the loss. I felt Johney Cormier and Tyson Valette played well. Valette hasn’t dressed for too many games and is still finding his way into the SJHL game, but he created a couple of good opportunities for himself and linemates. Cormier is a guy I think is on the verge of putting some offensive numbers on the board. He was a catalyst for the Wolves tonight when he was on the ice and came close a couple of times. It will be interesting to see if he can take off when he finds the back of the net.
I also felt the line of McNevin, Eisbrenner and Iron showed signs of clicking tonight. They’re an interesting combination and if they’re kept together on the same line could provide some scoring in the near future. It’s a good blend of speed, skill and grit that can give momentum and bury some chances as all three become more comfortable in the SJHL.
On the Klippers side, Taylor Duzan always impresses me. Generally the smallest guy on the ice, but doesn’t give up on any play. He was rewarded in a big way with the hat trick. Klippers play-by-play announcer, Brenden Ullrich, says Duzan can be streaky, so if he’s getting hot that’s good news for Kindersley.
Justin McDonald was decent in net for Kindersley. He wasn’t overly busy, but made some tough saves in the third period to keep the Ice Wolves to one goal on the evening. He has the makings of a solid starter in the league, and we’ll see what the other two goalies in the Klippers camp bring to the table as they battle for playing time.
The Ice Wolves get a chance to come right back and rebound against the North Stars and the question will once again be this. Will they be able to find the back of the net? A question Ice Wolves Nation hopes will be answered with a big yes, and soon.