The Ice Wolves ended up splitting their two game set with the Estevan Bruins after tonight's game, but that didn't really have to be the case.
First let's role through a quick recap of the game if you missed it.
Ice Wolves opened the scoring early, just a minute in, Travis Eggum keeps up his goal per game pace by notching his 32nd of the season. Lindensmith picks up an assist, so he moves to a 17 game point streak, closing in on Justin Buzzeo's league high streak of 19, also answering my question of whether his mustache was the reason for all the points he's been getting, apparently not (shaved it this week).
The Ice Wolves were rolling, until Ben Findlay kicked his old team right where it hurts, in the SH column. It was at this point the energy in the Mel went as cold as it is outside in La Ronge tonight, which as of writing time, is -32 C. Even when the Wolves took the lead back, the energy in the building didn't rise to where it had been.
Like I said, the Ice Wolves got back in the lead, but once again, while on the powerplay, they couldn't put up a two goal edge, and surrendered ANOTHER shorthanded goal. Ouch.
The teams traded another set of goals before the Bruins took the lead with only 23 seconds left in the third. Troy Hunter, the Bruins Captain, finished the Ice Wolves off. He scored the go ahead with in the second, put the B's up by two early in the third on the powerplay, then put it outta reach, sealing the natural hat-trick. Hunter now has 5 goals against the Ice Wolves in 3 games.
Ice Wolves got one back, but the empty-netter sealed the Wolves fate and a Bruins 7-4 win.
Now, my thoughts on the game.
Don't let the score deceive you! This was a very winnable game for the Ice Wolves. They had the lead three times, and couldn't put the Bruins away. They out shot the Bruins, 54-40 and carried the play most of the game. So how did they lose? Well, it was another tough night for Adam Bartko. He seems to be fighting the puck right now, much like he did at the beginning of the season. He was pulled after goal number six in favour of Myles Hovdebo, and I wouldn't be surprised if Hovdebo starts against Weyburn.
Four posts tonight, yeah, the hockey gods didn't smile on the Wolves in that respect; Justin Ducharme alone in the slot, crossbar. Taylor Piller shorthanded, inside of the post. Rhyse Dieno, a rocket square off the iron, and Logan Herauf strikes the base of the post. There's not much you can do about those ones, it's the unlucky side of the game.
Shea Cooper played real well in net for Estevan tonight. Yes he has a flair for the dramatic, but he got the job done tonight for the Bruins. I don't want to take anything away from the Bruins because they played a solid game tonight, and they got their seven goals with hard work and forcing the Ice Wolves out of their comfort zone. Just when it looked like the Wolves had a complete grip on the game, the Bruins, like the fish that fly onto the ice at the Mel, slipped out and hung around. When the B's got their chance, they put the game away.
So overall, I would chalk this one up as one of those games you maybe deserved to win... but didn't, 'cause, like the saying goes, nobody keeps track of who deserves to win (except for media-types writing post game blogs).
All of that said, Ice Wolves nation eagerly awaits the return of the Adam Bartko that was unbelievable through November.
I'll catch ya on Saturday night/Sunday when I preview the Ice Wolves and Red Wings.