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Wolves squeak in win against Ottawa

By: Scott Haddow – Straight Up Sports

 | Dec 02, 2013 - 8:49 AM |
The Sudbury Wolves battled hard to win their Dec. 1 home game against the Ottawa 67's 4-3. Photo by Scott Haddow.

The Sudbury Wolves battled hard to win their Dec. 1 home game against the Ottawa 67's 4-3. Photo by Scott Haddow.

Sudbury Wolves forward Connor Crisp and his teammates were not dejected.

In fact, they were the exact opposite. They were determined to win.

The Wolves were down 2-1 after two periods of play against the visiting Ottawa 67’s Sunday afternoon. The Wolves had been pouring the heat on Ottawa with 38 shots through the periods, but were having trouble finding a weak link in 67’s goalie Philippe Trudeau’s armour.

It mattered little to the Wolves. They just felt too good about their chances in the third period. They kept pounding the net with pucks and traffic and it paid off as they rung up three goals in the third frame to win the game 4-3.

“We knew we were going to win,” Crisp said. “We were very confident going in. We had the shots, we were getting a lot of chances and we are a third period team. We’ve comeback a lot this year in the third period.”

The Wolves entered the game with the stakes high. Win and they took over first place in the Central Division. Crisp did his part by scoring two goals in the win and help the Wolves secure first in the division with a record of 13-9-3-3, good for 32 points. The win also pushed the Wolves winning streak to three games.

Crisp now has four goals in his last four games. He will take it and likes the roll Sudbury is on currently.

“I’m getting in the right spots at the right time,” Crisp said. “More than anything, the team is starting to click. We’re starting to find lines and good chemistry out there. I think it showed on my second goal with me and (Nicholas) Baptiste. It was a tic-tac goal and you don’t score goals like that without chemistry. Things like that are helping out a lot.”

Ottawa made the Wolves work for the win, especially Trudeau, who was stellar throughout the game. Ottawa opened the scoring in the first period when Joseph Blandisi scored at 6:40. Crisp notched his first goal of the game when fired the puck up and over Trudeau from the crease during a scrum to make it 1-1 at 18:36.
Ottawa jumped on a bad cough-up by the Wolves defence in the second period and Ryan Van Stralen made no mistake popping a goal to make it 2-1 Ottawa at 7:57.

The Wolves came out like gangbusters in the third and their continued pressure paid off with three straight goals. Crisp scored his second of the game by tapping in a pass from Baptiste right on Trudeau’s doorstep to tie the game at 2-2 at 4:04 on the power play. Craig Duininck and Dominik Kahun also tallied goals to bump Sudbury ahead 4-2 by the 12:02 mark of the third.

Ottawa’s John Urbanic potted a late tally to make the final 4-3.
Wolves goalie Franky Palazzese was solid in net and did his best in the third period to keep Ottawa at bay once the Wolves took the lead. Palazzese stopped 14 shots in the third period and 26 overall.

“Kudos to Franky for keeping us in this game,” Sudbury forward Nathan Cull said. “He has been playing great for us the last 15 games and it shows because we are at the top of the division right now. All the guys on our roster are going right now and we have to keep going.”

Sudbury head coach Paul Fixter had no complaints after the game on how the team performed. The Wolves specialty teams continued to produce the desired results with one power play goal on three chances, while the penalty kill units thwarted all three of Ottawa’s chances. The Wolves had no shortage of opportunities thanks to a total of 48 shots. This game, and subsequent victory, was about going the distance.

“They stuck together. They persevered for 60 minutes,” Fixter said about the difference in winning or losing. “It was a great effort.”

Fixter knew his troops were feeling confident before the game and the third period. It had Fixter on the edge of his seat.
“They were pretty loose from the start of the game and it bothered me a bit to be honest, but they know what they’re doing. They are a tight group and they figured it out.”

The Wolves are in the midst of a eight-game home stand. They are 2-0 to start it. This will be a key portion of the schedule for the Wolves and Fixter wants to see the team make Sudbury Community Arena an unfriendly place for opposing teams.

“We have to take advantage of these games,” he said.

The Wolves host Sarnia on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Mississauga on Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

Game notes

-The game’s three stars were: Dominik Kahun (first), Craig Duininck (second) and Philippe Trudeau (third).
-The Wolves scratched David Eccles, Evan de Haan, David Zeppieri and Brody Silk.
-The 67’s scratched Owen Stewart, Trevor Dulong, Mike Vlajkov, Connor Graham, Taylor Davis and Ryan Duhaime.
Sudbury forward Nathan Pancel has a six-game point streak with four goals and 11 points in the span.
-Sudbury defenceman Craig Duininck has three goals and nine points in eight games with Sudbury since coming over in a trade with Sarnia.
-Sudbury forward Nicholas Baptiste has one goal and five points in his last three games.
-Attendance was announced as 3,003.

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