The Wolves fell 3-2 to the visiting Plymouth Whalers in a hotly contested game filled with plenty of penalties and missed glorious opportunities.
The Wolves and Whalers were tied 2-2 going into the third period. Plymouth’s Mathieu Henderson broke the deadlock with an early power-play goal to make it 3-2 at 3:57.
Essentially, the Wolves had the Whalers pressed on their heels the rest of the way, but could not buy a goal despite numerous power plays to get the job done. The Wolves ended the game on a four-minute man advantage situation and threw everything they had at Plymouth goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. He shut the door.
Sudbury fired 20 shots in the third period, the majority of them coming in the late stages of the frame.
The Wolves could only shake their heads in collective disbelief.
“We had the pressure, but nothing was going in for us,” Sudbury forward Nathan Pancel said. “We did well all things considered. It just didn’t work out.”
Sudbury drew first blood in the first period when Mathew Campagna broke loose and ripped a goal on a break away. The lead held up until Plymouth’s Francesco Vilardi scored on the power play to tie the game at 1-1.
Plymouth stormed ahead in the second frame when Carter Sandlak popped a goal to make it 2-1 at 13:54. Sudbury fought back and during a wild crease scrum, Pancel jammed the puck in to tie the game at 2-2 at 18:57. It was a dirty goal, but one that had to be made considering how well Nedeljkovic was playing.
The difference was in the man-advantage situations. Sudbury went 0-for-9 on the power play, while Plymouth scored two power-play goals on seven chances.
“Our effort was good,” Sudbury head coach Paul Fixter said. “We out-shot a team finally. We out-chanced them. We kept our shots (against) down to a reasonable number. We had our chances, but we didn’t capitalize. Their goaltender played very well.
"This game came down to specialty teams. Our penalty kill wasn’t good enough and our power play was ineffective. With a goaltender like that, you have to have traffic in front of him. If he sees it, he is going to stop it. He saw too many pucks tonight. Nothing to hang our heads about except for the fact we didn’t get the two points.”
The Wolves get right back into action tonight when they host the Mississauga Steelheads at 7 p.m. It is the first visit to Sudbury for the Steelheads this season.
-The Wolves scratched Nathan Cull, Dominik Kahun and Brody Silk all due to upper body injuries. The Whalers scratched Connor Chatham, Spencer Lee, Matt Mistele and Gianluca Curcuruto.
-The game’s three stars were: Alex Nedeljkovic (first), Mathew Campagna (second) and Jeff Corbett (third).
-Sudbury fired 45 shots on the Plymouth net.
-Prior to the game, the Wolves announced they had signed 16-year-old defenceman Austin Clapham, a 2013 fourth-round draft pick. Clapham is currently playing for the Oakville Blades Junior A team.