The Wolves play Peterborough tonight and then Kingston on Friday and Ottawa on Sunday. After losing the first game of the season, the Wolves have managed to gain at least a point in five straight games. They are also on a modest two-game winning streak, having bested Peterborough and Barrie last weekend.
“We are playing a lot better as a team and we are getting some timely goaltending and starting to find some chemistry with the lines,” Sudbury head coach Paul Fixter said.
The Wolves are having no problems making sure arena red lights work. Sudbury is the second highest scoring team after the first three weeks of the season, and this despite the fact the first game of the 2013-14 season was cancelled and no official stats were recorded.
Sudbury scored 31 goals in its first six games, good for second overall behind Kingston. Three players — Mathew Campagna (14 points), Nathan Pancel (12) and Nicholas Baptiste (12) — are averaging at least two points per game.
“We have some highly skilled and explosive offensive forwards and we are getting good secondary scoring, too,” Fixter said.
Still, the Wolves coaches are not happy. Defence is still a key issue. Fixter doesn’t care if he sounds like a broken record. He and associate coach David Matsos will keep harping on the players about sound defensive play.
The Wolves allowed 32 goals to start the season, second most in the Eastern Conference. This is unacceptable, Fixter said.
“As much as we are scoring, we are giving up too many goals,” Fixter said. “It is a concern. Three or four goals should be enough to win a hockey game. We need a better commitment by all players to playing sound, defensive hockey, making good decisions with the puck, limiting turnovers and better puck management.”
The Wolves hope veteran goalie Franky Palazzese has found his groove. Palazzese put up his most impressive game of the young season last Saturday against Barrie on the road with 42 saves.
“Franky is finding his game,” Fixter said. “He made some tremendous saves against Barrie on the penalty kill.”