A third-period rally made things more interesting, for a brief period of time, but the damage was done as the host Leduc Oil Kings doubled the Wolves 6-3, dropping Sudbury to 0-2 in the six-team competition.
After surrendering five first-period goals to Esther-Blondin (Quebec) on Monday, the locals were not much quicker out of the gate in Game 2, trailing 3-0 by the 15:10 mark of the opening frame.
Hayden Dawes, Carson Powlik and Preston Eshenko beat starter Maxim Veilleux in the first, with Kord Pankewicz and Jody Sick increasing the advantage through the middle stanza.
Sudbury Wolves' third-round pick Connor Burgess provided a spark to the Central Region reps, putting his team on the board just 16 seconds into the third, and when Michael Laidley and Brandon Langella scored just 20 seconds apart with more than 15 minutes to play, it appeared that fans might still be in for a game.
But with less than five minutes to play, Dawes would book-end the scoring parade that he started, adding some insurance as Leduc remained in a first-place tie, winning both of their games to date.
For the second straight contest, Sudbury coach Peter Michelutti Jr utilized both of his goaltenders, with Andrew Lefebvre stepping in with the score sitting at 5-0.
However, accounts of both games from team management would suggest that the losses are a function of the entire team not playing to their potential rather than strictly a goaltending issue.
Team manager Albert Corradini told Northern Life prior to heading into Game 2 that the Wolves had “quiet confidence,” and that despite a 6-2 loss to Quebec the night before, the boys are “convinced” they belong a the tournament.
He said the game plan against Leduc was to keep it simple on the back end and utilize the team's speed up front, as well as to stay out of the penalty box.
“We feel good tonight ... as well as a team can feel coming off a 6-2 loss,” he said.
Either way, the window of opportunity is closing fast for the locals, with the Nickel Capital Wolves facing a must-win game today (April 25) against the Saskatoon Contacts. The Western representatives dropped a 6-2 decision to Quebec yesterday, having just a tie to show for their efforts in their first two games.
In the remaining encounters on April 24, the Red Deer Rebels remained unbeaten at 1-0-1, slipping past the Moncton Flyers 2-1. Meanwhile, the champions of the Atlantic region are now tied with Saskatoon, just one point ahead of Sudbury.
The Wolves battle Moncton April 26, closing out round-robin play against Red Deer on April 27.
The top four teams advance through to the semifinals on April 28, with the bronze- and gold-medal games slated for April 29.
Posted by Arron Pickard