Sault Ste. Marie native, Chad Thibodeau, now dressing for the Sudbury Wolves, led the way for the Pack last night with a three-point performance in their final home exhibition game against the Soo Greyhounds by a final score of 3–1.
The Greyhounds had a tough time staying out of the penalty box in the first period, and the Wolves capitalized late in the period to open up the scoring, with a goal by veteran forward Jacob Harris.
The Wolves kept the momentum going after the first intermission and were able to find the back of the net twice in the first five minutes of play in the second period. Both goals came from the stick of Thibodeau on the power play.
A scoresheet full of penalties served to remind both the Wolves and Greyhounds fans of the Northern Ontario rivalry between the two team. The Wolves took some untimely penalties midway through the third period, which led to the Greyhounds' one and only goal of the night with a power-play marker from Jorgen Karterund.
While the Wolves outshot the Greyhounds for the first two periods, the Greyhounds managed to even it out and then surpass the Wolves through the third period. Final shots on goal were 34-30 in favour of the Greyhounds.
Goalies Taylor Dupuis and Michael Muzyka split the time in net for the Wolves, both making some tough stops to keep their team going.
"We played well," said Wolves head coach Paul Fixter. "It was a team effort, our goaltending was solid, and our penalty kill was great, because we ran into a lot of penalties," he said.
Right now, the Wolves are still in training camp, he said, so it's an evaluation process.
"The big thing we've been stressing to the players through practice is that we're looking for work ethic each and every night," Fixter said. "Through the two games we've played so far, we've seen tremendous work ethic from all four lines."
The Wolves wrap up their exhibition schedule tonight in Sault Ste. Marie when they complete their home-and-home pre-season series with the Greyhounds.
They return home Sept. 20 to open up their regular season action as they once again face off against the Soo Greyhounds.
The Pack will play with the same lineup tonight, Fixter said, because there aren't any extra bodies to switch it up.
"We'll change up the goaltending again, and see what (Troy) Timpano can do - he hasn't played yet."
With the regular season not even underway yet, it's still too early for last night's game to be any kind of indication moving forward about how these two teams will fare against one another.
"Both teams are evaluating, and both teams had young lineups last night," Fixter said. "Obviously, when you drop the puck, you want to win. We're competitive by nature. Last night's game wasn't about sending a message, but I do look forward to the rivalry between these teams."
Fixter said the evaluation process will continue; however, there are still five players missing from the lineup.
"If and when they get back, they'll be part of the evaluation," he said.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the Sudbury Arena. Tickets are on sale now at the Sudbury Arena Box Office.