Coming into the second game of a four game road trip having lost seven in a row away from the Mel, something had to give for the Wolves. It turned out to be a stellar game from Myles Hovdebo that got the Wolves back in the win column with some help in the shootout from Aaron Enns to snag the 2-1 win.
On the big ice at Notre Dame, shots and scoring chances can be a little tough to come by at times as plays get swallowed up on the expanse. Okay, it's not quite that bad, but there's still a large amount of icing calls that can be directly attributed. When the chances did come Wednesday night, they tended to swing in bunches.
Both Hovdebo and Ty Reichenbach were excellent between the pipes as it looks like the Hounds have another top goalie candidate in the early going.
After a first period thoroughly controlled by the Ice Wolves, the Hounds bounced back in the second. It definitely had the feel of the night before, leaving that small, "Here we go again," feeling in the back of my mind. The Wolves, though, didn't collapse or start making a round of mistakes, they stuck into the gameplan and were eventually rewarded. Jordan Ethier got the Wolves on the board, the eighth time in 13 games La Ronge has scored the opening goal. The Hounds didn't go away as they fought tooth and nail to get back even on the scoresheet. Their persistence paid off as Ryan Fitzgerald scored a great hard work meets skill goal.
The two squads played a very even third period, tipped slightly to the Hounds side on the strength of three straight Notre Dame powerplays. The final frame is where both goalies really made their mark, turning away some very good chances on either side. Because of that, both teams were awarded a point and headed to OT, which was largely uneventful.
The shootout went the requisite three rounds as the first two Hounds shooters missed the net (Ferguson caught the outside of the post) and the third was stopped in tight by Hovdebo. At the other end, Reichenbach made a doozy of a save on Nathan Boyer to keep it scoreless. Aaron Enns would finish it in skate-off fashion as he pulled the Hounds net minder to one side, then cut back and went bar down to ice the game.
The single point was a big one for the Wolves, but actually getting the win was massive. They were able to break out of the winless slide, Hovdebo got back on his game and most importantly added that second point. The importance of early season points is really highlighted when you're facing a squad that missed the post-season by two points last year.
1. Myles Hovdebo (G) - LAR - 28 Svs
2. Ty Reichenbach (G) - ND - 27 Svs
3. Aaron Enns (F) - LAR - SO Winner
Now the Wolves move on to the Showcase Weekend where they'll take on the Weyburn Red Wings and Nipawin Hawks. I'll be covering the Red Wings game (11 a.m., Friday) in one form or another. I'm going to try out a live blogging setup that would allow me to update in real time, and accept questions from you as well, exciting stuff if I can get it to work.