The Ice Wolves hit the cut-across to Flin Flon with hopes of being over .500 by the end of the weekend. The Bombers had other plans for their thanksgiving weekend, outscoring the Wolves by eight goals over the two contests.
There were a couple bright spots for the Wolves, but not many on a disappointing weekend for La Ronge. Both games showed a regression for the Wolves who seemed to sort out many of their problems from past games when they were on home ice. The plus side to that was the Wolves offence continued to pick up goals, scoring seven in the two games.
As Bob Beatty put it in a pre-game interview, you can score 17 points, but if you’re minus 27, it doesn’t do much good. He was speaking on an individual basis, but it applies to the results on the scoreboard.
Though they found themselves behind for most of the weekend, the Wolves showed some good character in pushing comeback attempts repeatedly through the games. Down by four entering the third period of Friday’s game, the Wolves had most of the Whitney Forum believing a comeback was underway. They scored twice in the early going to cut the lead to two, and came oh so close to making it a one. That was as close as they would get as the Bombers recovered and picked up a very important goal to stretch it back to three.
The amazing thing this weekend was the Bombers sheer ability to cut down the Wolves momentum. If La Ronge potted one, you could be sure the Bombers were going to score in short order. It happened about three times with Flin Flon replying to an Ice Wolves marker within a minute or pretty darn close to. Twice it happened within 25 seconds of the Wolves scoring.
The Bomb Squad also struck early and often.
Almost every period started off with a Bomber goal within the first 3-5 minutes of the frame.That kind of trend would possibly indicate a lack of focus from the Wolves as they start the period. Stopping these early goals is going to be something the Wolves need to take care of so they’re not fighting from behind every game.
9-5 and 6-2 scores lead to a disappointing weekend for the Ice Wolves, who have now dropped six straight games away from the Mel. This is also significant for a team that only lost six in regulation on the road all of last season. With the Wolves schedule so lopsided with road games in the early and late stages of the season, they need to figure out how to win away from La Ronge.
The trip home was fairly eventful, though it started pretty quiet. After a quick stop at a gas station to pick up some snacks for the long road, it was time to celebrate Nathan Boyer's birthday. His Mom got him a cake made of cupcakes, which is brilliant for bus eating, and the guys took great pleasure in presenting, and subsequently demolishing the cake.
Yes, that's a picture of Boyer playing in the Anavet Cup done into the icing (Alex Vandenameele, Boyer and Enns left to right).
It was actually Enns' birthday in the last week as well. I also just realized that finger Vandenameele has in his mouth was likely the one he use to put icing on mine and others faces as he walked down the aisle a couple times. At least it was a couple minutes later, still, yuck.
Anyways, on to the next part of our adventure. I've always wondered what would happen if our bus collided with some wildlife. We almost took out a deer or two last year, as will happen driving around late at night. Last night, I finally got my answer. I was happily dozing while watching "Empire Strikes Back" on my laptop (I know, great movie, right?) when all of a sudden the brakes went hard. I was nestled safetly against the seat in front of me so didn't get jostled too much. The momentary deceleration was followed by a 'BANG' and faster deceleration. According to Tyson Valette and Franklin Cook the moose wandered out of the ditch, right in front of the bus. Bad move, moose. After a lot of shouting to make sure everyone was okay, which they were, people took stock of the situation. A couple laptops had gone for short trips and the jube-jubes at the front of the bus were sadly strewn about. Oh, and Brett Hope, who was lounging on the floor down the aisle of the bus had just slid about eight feet along with my laptop bag. He'll probably have some bruises from bashing against chair legs on his trips, but that should be the extent of the injuries. Well, not quite.
The moose, well, it didn't make it. It really didn't make it. After the initial shock faded, it was time to check on the bus. I was expecting the worst, crumpled front, broken down bus, trapped on that darn cut across. Nope, there was only some minor damage as we were lucky enough to not hit the animal dead centre. Naturally the next step with 23 young men on the bus was to race out and investigate the carnage. Some were so excited to get out there, they may have forgotten the relative lack of clothing they were sporting at the time. Let's just say the moose was, all over the place and leave it at that. There were plenty of pictures taken, so I may try and round some of those up for the more adventurous of you, but at the moment, nada as my phone was running low on batteries and it won't let me access the camera at that point.
Needless to say, the team was the most alert I've ever seen it on the bus, with every reflection and shadow drawing anticipation. I'm not sure whether they were nervous about hitting another, or wanted to make it two on the night. I'm sure the thought has crossed your mind, and yes, there were some comments lamenting the lack of hunting knives and some bags to bring home some spoils of man's victory over nature. From the experience, I've also learned I don't ever want to be hit by a tour bus at cruising speed.
The events of the night removed some of the sting for the Ice Wolves who get a chance to improve the road record this week when they head South to Humboldt on Tuesday to get another chance at the Broncos and they’ll make their first trip to Notre Dame to take on the Hounds. The trip is capped off with the SJHL Showcase in Estevan.
Post Script: Any leftover turkey donations are appreciated.