No Terry on Colour tonight as you would know if you happened to listen to the game.  Maybe tomorrow?  I hope so, it has been lonely in the broadcast booth the past few road games.  Ah well, enough of my whining, ON TO THE GAME!!
The Ice Wolves haven’t been their brand of hockey since they got back from the Christmas Break and tonight it finally caught up with them.

After sneaking a win away from the Broncos Friday night, the Wolves entered Crescent Point Place needing a much stronger effort against Weyburn.  It was a step in the right direction, but not strong enough to take away a win as the Red Wings were victorious 3-2 over the Wolves.

Read on for the recap.

Also, I’m writing this on the bus, and it is pretty much a whiteout on the road back to Regina… yikes. (edit) As is evident by my posting the blog, we are safe and cozy back at the hotel.
In the first few minutes of the game, it looked like the Ice Wolves had returned to form.  They were playing a gritty game and getting some shots toward the net.  Things were looking up when the Wolves picked up a goal on the powerplay courtesy of Byron Sorenson.  The Wolves hadn’t scored with the man advantage in three games so it was sorely needed.

The Wolves carried that momentum through a good portion of the first, but it was clear that Weyburn wasn’t going away.  The Red Wings notched a powerplay goal of their own late in the period from Drew George and the teams went into the intermission tied at one.

The goal seemed to take something out of the Ice Wolves.  Marc-Andre Carre took a penalty as time expired in the period, putting Weyburn on the powerplay to start the second.  Special teams were a huge part of this game, as the Red Wings capitalized on the opportunity, wrestling themselves in front of the Wolves.  Jesse Ross was responsible for that marker, and the next one as well… just 40 seconds later.  Unfortunately for Ross and the Red Wings; just minutes late, Ross went to check Byron Sorenson and went awkwardly into the boards.  He injured something in his leg or both legs, there wasn’t any pressure being put on one, and little on the other.  No word on how  long he might be out, but from the look of the play, it could be a while.

For most of the second period the Ice Wolves looked off.  The Wolves committed a lot of giveaways and weren’t very physical.  In simple terms, they weren’t playing Ice Wolves Hockey.  They snapped out of it for a few seconds late, when Travis Eggum slid home is 39th of the season on the powerplay to bring the game within one for the third period.

The third was an example of how to turtle for the win. The Red Wings had 8 shots on goal (albeit, they were mostly very good chances that Bartko had to stop) and just trapped the Ice Wolves.  The neutral zone was nearly impassable with four Red Wings in it at all times.  The Wolves did manage thirteen shots in the period, but Mitch Kilgore was there to close the door.

It did look like the Wolves had lucked out an equalizer when the puck came in front and bounced off of Kilgore’s skate and in behind him.  The puck seemed to trickle way too long to have not stayed out, but no goal was called on the play and the lamp didn’t light.  Unfortunately for the Wolves, Rhyse Dieno had the best angle to see it (he says the puck was in, apparently Kilgore told Dieno he thought it was as well).  It was unfortunate because Dieno was in front of the referee, who then couldn’t see if the puck went in.

As much as the Ice Wolves need wins to stay atop the Bauer Conference, this could be good for them, better than that puck going in and maybe coming out with a win.  In his post game interview, Assistant Coach Gavin Holcomb said it was indeed good for the Wolves as it serves as a wake up call for a team that has been getting away with not playing their best hockey.  This is a time of year when you need to play your best hockey, or you will soon be watching other teams move on in the playoffs.

Hopefully this gets the guys ready for Estevan on Sunday.

Two bright spots in this game, the powerplay scored (twice) and Adam Bartko looked solid, making some key saves in the third period on the couple of chances the Red Wings had.  As a not so bright spot, the SJHL’s longest point streak of the season came to a close tonight.  Marc-Andre Carre failed to register a point so his streak stops at 21 games.  A stretch that lasted from November 5th until now… he picked up over 50 points during that time and put himself up to the top of the SJHL scoring race with Doug Lindensmith.

Three Stars

1. Jesse Ross – 2 G – One of two key players that gave the Red Wings the win.  His two goals were all the offence needed.

2. Mitch Kilgore – 35 saves – Key player number two.  He came up with some huge saves in the third to keep the Wings on top.

3. Byron Sorenson – 1 G – The best Wolf on the ice tonight in my egotistical opinion.  He was a catalyst on the powerplay and solid in his own end as usual.

Moving along to Estevan.

Unlike the Red Wings, the Bruins did not deem it prudent to help out the Ice Wolves by beating Melfort in Estevan Saturday night.  While the Red Wings came into the game with confidence and on a roll, the Bruins lost in their first game with a new head coach.

Speaking of losses with new head coaches, Rockie Zinger suffered his first loss behind the bench of the Klippers tonight after Kindersley won eight in a row, but I digress.

The Wolves coaching staff clearly hopes the loss in Weyburn will get the Pack running in the right direction.  The Ice Wolves generally bounce back strong after losses, as they have only lost back to back games a couple of times this season.  The tough part is they have to do it in Estevan’s rink with is not Ice Wolves friendly.  Well, at least not friendly to the skilled side of their game.  The good thing, is that it will force the Ice Wolves to re-embrace the physical side of their game which has been chilling just outside of arms reach.

It’s an early evening Sunday game tomorrow; I’ll have the pre-game show for you at 5:45 with the puck hitting the ice at 6:00.  All of the action is on MBC.

After the game is the long trek back to La Ronge.  I’ll have my post game write up done on the bus, but as you can imagine, it won’t be up until Monday morning or afternoon.

I’ll catch ya then!


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