The Wolves faced an important bounce back game against Weyburn tonight. In their previous meeting, the Wolves dumped the Wings 6-0, but faced a Red Wings team without the Cowie's or Drew George. Mind you Jesse Ross was out of the line-up tonight for Weyburn so another key offensive component missing.
How'd the Wolves do? Here's a quick recap.
It was the Marc-Andre Carre show in the first and second period. He moved to within one point of line mate Doug Lindensmith in league scoring on the strength of a hat trick over the first and early second. The Wolves worked up a four goal lead before the Red Wings would get on the board. Brock Appleyard notched the first of his two in the game to make it 4-1, but Justin Ducharme had the answer for the Wolves to make it 5-1 heading to the third.
I don't know what was said in the intermission, but the Wings looked great in the third. Riley Hengen came in between the pipes in favour of Mitch Kilgore. (Wolves have 10 goals in 5 periods on Kilgore) The switch seemed to spark the Wings as they were all over the Wolves and with just over six minutes left had pulled within two goals. The Ice Wolves weren't really playing bad, but definitely without the same urgency they had earlier in the game. I could hear some of the guys on the bench yelling that there was still plenty of game to be played, so they weren't too pleased with how things were going either.
The Wolves needed something big, and that's what goalie Myles Hovdebo gave them. The Red Wings nearly pulled within one as a puck bounced through the crease to the open stick of one of their forwards, who's empty net quickly disappeared when Hovdebo came flying across to make a brilliant post to post save. I have no doubt that the Red Wings would have tied the game if they had pulled within one at that point. Lucky for the Ice Wolves, they didn't. Then La Ronge iced the game a minute or so later when Justin Ducharme popped a one timer past Riley Hengen to make it a final of 6-3 for La Ronge.
I'll tackle the goaltending first. This was an important start for Hovdebo. He was 6-1 coming into the contest, but with 4 wins over Notre Dame. He's played well this season, but needed a bigger test. I don't think you'll see him in against Melfort or Yorkton any time soon, but Weyburn was a good step up the ladder. Hovdebo wasn't really forced to be great in this game aside from a couple of the saves he made in the third. He did let in one goal that was stoppable, but was solid for 60 minutes tonight.
The Ice Wolves fourth line of Dieno/Hladun/Boyer looked strong again. Rhyse Dieno has been accused this year of shying away from some of the physical play this season, but he had at least 3 hits this game, they weren't thunderous, but were good solid plays along the boards. These guys are the Ice Wolves future and they just keep getting better.
There was something that really impressed me about the Wings. They played in Melfort last night, and won 1-0 in a shootout. I didn't see the game, but can only imagine the toll that took on them. Then, they arrived in La Ronge at 2:30 this morning. That is a brutal schedule, but when the legs should be feeling heavy, they looked great, and could have stolen one tonight.
There was a bit of fun stuff after the game. The young fans had the chance to get out on the ice and skate with the Ice Wolves, if you've ever been to a game in La Ronge, you'll know the Wolves have a very young fan base. These kids love the players and the guys reciprocate the feelings. It was good to see the kids huge smiles getting matched by the players'.
Up next, the Wolves face Flin Flon on Wednesday, I would bet a bunch of money (if I didn't work in radio and had it to spare) on Adam Bartko getting the start for La Ronge. The last time these teams met, it was the first of a seven game winning string for the Bombers. Bartko needs a bounce back game after the tilt in Estevan, and I think we'll see it.
I'll have that game on the live web-stream at livesports.com.
Have a good night!