The Frontenacs, rated second overall in the CHL Top 10 list, own one of the best records in the OHL. They destroyed Sudbury 10-1 two weeks ago on the road. It all lined up Friday and all the Wolves had to do was go out and make their statement.
Palazzese stopped all 37 shots fired his way and the Wolves got timely goals from Danny Desrochers, Dominik Kubalik and Nathan Pancel to beat Kingston 3-0 on home ice and make their statement loud and clear.
“We took responsibility as a team,” Palazzese said. “We proved tonight we can be the team everyone thinks we can be. It was sweet revenge.”
Both teams traded good chances in the first period, but no skater could solve Palazzese and Kingston net minder Matt Mahalak. Sudbury busted the game wide open with a three-goal flurry in the second period. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Desrochers pounded a loose puck in during a crease scramble to make it 1-0.
A few minutes later, Kubalik picked up a loose puck and drove to the net and ripped a hard shot into the net to make it 2-0. Pancel took the puck from the corner and stuffed the puck in the short side on the power play to make it 3-0.
It might have been 4-0 if Kubalik’s stick hadn’t snapped in half during a penalty shot attempt.
Aside from timely scoring, the Wolves blocked shots, back-checked with tenacity, dumped pucks deep and limited mistakes.
Sudbury head coach Paul Fixter liked what he saw and wants to see more.
“The lesson is when you work hard and when you stick to the game plan, you get rewarded,” Fixter said. “It was a great team effort obviously. A great bounce-back win for the hockey club, having been embarrassed a couple of weeks ago. It showed the pride these guys have. It was the only motivation we needed.”
Fixter has preached defensive play from top to bottom in his lineup. The Wolves did their job. They killed off the two Kingston power plays, including a key chance in the second period with Kingston buzzing and gaining momentum. Palazzese made his biggest save of the game by snatching a blistering shot by Kingston’s John Bowen out of the air with his glove.
“I’m happy for Franky Palazzese and the penalty kill. They finally got rewarded for all the hard work they’ve done.”
The victory boosted the Wolves’ confidence.
“It’s huge,” Palazzese said. “To beat a team like that, 3-0, a clean win … it’s a good confidence boost for our defence. We shut them down all night.
It was a strong win.
“Everybody did their jobs. For me personally, it meant a lot. I haven’t played up to par this season. I changed some things around this week. It worked.”
The game only had a total of six minor penalties, but it didn’t mean it was a picnic in the park for the two clubs. The hits were hard and there was no shortage of trash-talking and shoving after whistles. Early in the third period, Sudbury forward Jacob Harris was hit by a Kingston player and left sprawled on the ice for several minutes.
Harris left the game with 19:37 to go and didn’t return. His status was unknown after the game and he will be tested.
The Harris incident left a sour taste in Fixter’s mouth.
“The Jacob Harris head shot that four officials missed, it’s unacceptable,” Fixter said. “We preach about protecting the players. That’s the officials’ job. They have to protect the players. Headshots are not accepted. It is wrong.
“Four veteran officials cannot miss that. It’s not right. I didn’t think it was a well-officiated game.”
The Wolves host the Belleville Bulls Saturday night. Game time is 7 p.m.
- The game’s three stars were: Franky Palazzese (first), Ray Huether (second) and Kevin Raine (third).
- The Wolves scratched Dominik Kahun and Brody Silk due to injury and David Zeppieri. Kingston scratched Billy Jenkins and Ryan Kujawinski.
- Late in the third period, several fights erupted in the stands in Section 2. Security and arena staff were able to break up the chaos and removed the parties involved.
- Attendance was announced as 3,288