The way this game started out, it looked like the crew from La Ronge may lose back to back games for only the third time this year.
Two quick Melville goals shocked the healthy La Ronge contingent of fans that came expecting to see the Wolves handle the Millionaires. The Ice Wolves, to their credit, never panicked. They just slowly but surely took control of the game and when they started rolling. It was all downhill... all the way to a 7-3 win over Melville.
Read on for my thoughts on the game.
The nice thing about not having a post game show is I can just take care of this while the guys are getting ready to get on the bus, and I can save battery power for a movie if everyone else falls asleep before I do. I still don't have the hang of the 7 hour return trips... probably never will.
Anywhoo, the Wolves were sloppy for a lot of this game. They made the Millionaires look better than they were tonight. Credit to Melville, they capitalized on their chances and kept this close through about half of the game.
It was a full team effort from the Ice Wolves on this evening. Seven different goal scorers from up and down the lineup. Hovdebo even chipped in with an assist. I was watching a tv program in Yorkton today that said the Ice Wolves were a one line team... I've seen enough of La Ronge to know that is far from the truth and they proved it tonight while undermanned.
The big story coming from this weekend is once again injuries. Alex Vandenameele went down last night, on a play that I missed but apparently a heavy hit into the boards and it seems like an injury that resembles Steven Cook's. So it looks like Vandenameele will be unavailable for a while, which is really unfortunate because he was really starting to come on. It also puts the Ice Wolves down another D man. Enns and Keller were fine on the point tonight, but it creates a serious vacuum.
The other question mark is the status of Doug Lindensmith. He didn't get any points tonight so still sits at 98. If he misses the century mark by two it will really be a cryin' shame. What's more important is what he brings to the lineup with all those points and his work ethic. It's tough to find a Wolf that gives more effort every shift than Lunchbucket Lindensmith (a Curtis-ism). Hopefully for Doug and Ice Wolves Nation, he isn't that bad and can be ready to go for the playoffs.
That leads right into the next point. Rhyse Dieno... holy crap the kid is rolling. He takes advantage of every chance he gets for big line minutes and he plays the hell out of it. Four points tonight gives him 29 on the season, making him the Ice Wolves top rookie scorer. Look for the seventeen year old to be playing with Carre and Eggum on Tuesday if Lindensmith can't go.
Hovdebo played well tonight despite the early goals. He locked it down and kept the Ice Wolves sittin' pretty through the second half of the game. Also, like I said before, he picked up an assist in an offensive outburst from the Wolves' back-up goalie. Heh.
1. Rhyse Dieno - LR - 1 G, 3 A - A fantastic showing from the Ice Wolves' rookie. With more nights like this, he will continue to prove that he's going to be a star in this league. The downside to that for the Ice Wolves is WHL teams may start to take notice of Dieno. All upside for him though.
2. Nolan Souchotte - LR - 1 G - The Captain with yet another great effort proving his title. He pretty much only scores big goals, and did it again with his team trailing by two and got the train rolling with the Nolan Souchotte Fan Club in the house.
3. Travis Eggum - LR - 1 G, 2 A - This was the toughest star for me to pick all season. The Millionaires had pretty much a solid team effort so nobody really stood out, and I didn't know who to give it to from the Ice Wolves. When it comes down to it though, Eggum turned in another great performance with three points and the tying goal in the first. A two goal effort against Humboldt will make him the first 60 goal man since '98-'99.
Next up for the Ice Wolves is a long drive home, then the Broncos on Tuesday. I'll have the call for that one starting at 7:30ish.
Have a good weekend!