Sudbury Wolves captain Kevin Raine didn’t feel much like celebrating his team’s 7-6 overtime victory over the visiting Sarnia Sting Friday night.
It was the way it was done that had Raine not wanting to boast about beating a team which sits last in the Western Conference.
“It’s alright for us to be happy about getting two points, but there is no way we can be satisfied with the effort,” Raine said. “I, personally, am not happy with how I played. If you asked a lot of other guys they would say the same. We are an accountable group. There are no excuses for some of the goals we allowed them to score. We found a way to win, but we all have to be better.”
Sudbury unleashed an unrelenting assault on Sarnia and former Wolves net minder, Taylor Dupuis. When it was all settled, Sudbury had taken 64 shots on Dupuis. The final shot was taken by Nathan Pancel as he potted the game-winner into a wide open net at 1:01 of the overtime frame. It summed up a lot of the goals as many of them went in off players, took weird bounces or were wide-open net chances cashed in.
“When you put anything to the net, you never know what happens,” Wolves forward Mathew Campagna said. “It doesn’t matter how the goals go in as long as they go in and you win the game. I’ll take any goal I can get.”
Sarnia came out flying and tagged the Wolves for two goals by Tyler Hore, on the power play, and Nicholas Sproviero by the 10:08 mark of the first period. Sudbury’s Connor Crisp tallied a power-play goal at 13:38 to cut the lead before the first intermission.
In the second, Crisp tied the game 2-2 with his second goal of the game at 12:19. Sarnia surged ahead when Daniel Nikandrov found the back of the net at 15:34. The back-and-forth game continued as Campagna scored on a power play to knot the game at 3-3 at 16:46. Sarnia retook the lead when Nikolay Goldobin scored on a power play at 18:09.
The Wolves came out buzzing in the third, but Sarnia struck again on the power play when Nikita Korostelev scored at 1:12 to make it 5-3 for the Sting. This was the make-or-break moment for the Wolves. They didn’t break. They came together and mounted a furious comeback.
Pancel found himself at the right spot at the right time by the side of the net and he made no mistake dumping the puck into a wide open net at 3:47 to trim Sarnia’s lead to 5-4. Moments later, on a power play, Sudbury’s Jacob Harris blasted a shot from the high slot that eluded Dupuis and went in to tie the game at 5-5 at 6:56.
Sudbury finally took the lead in the game when Campagna took a shot towards the net from a bad angle and it deflected off a Sarnia defender and in the net at 12:47 to make it 6-5 Sudbury. Sarnia wasn’t finished.
Nikandrov scored with 10 seconds left in the game, on a power play, to tie the game at 6-6 and send it into overtime when Pancel provided the heroics with the winner.
When the Wolves went down 5-3, the veteran players stepped up and kept everyone focused on the task at hand. No players were allowed to get down over a two-goal deficit.
“We battled back and battled through adversity and it shows the character of the team,” Crisp said. “It was positivity on the bench. You can’t get down in a situation like that. It’s tough to stay up. It was sheer leadership on the bench.”
The Wolves specialty teams were a major factor. The Wolves scored three power-play goals on six opportunities. Sudbury struggled on the penalty kill as they allowed Sarnia to pot four power-play goals on seven chances. It made it simple to find the mistakes that need to be corrected.
“We have to be better defensively and way better on the penalty kill,” Campagna said.
The Wolves host the Mississauga Steelheads at Sudbury Community Arena tonight. Game time is 7 p.m.
The game’s three stars were: Nikolay Goldobin (third), Mathew Campagna (second) and Connor Crisp (first).
The Wolves scratched Evan de Haan, Conor Cummins, David Zeppieri and Brody Silk.
The Sting scratched Joshua Chapman, Nickolas Latta, Bryan Moore and Matteo Ciccarelli.
Attendance was announced as 3,773.
The Wolves improved to 14-9-3-3.
With the win, the Wolves pushed their Central Division lead to three points over the Barrie Colts.
Nathan Pancel has a seven game points streak, with six goals and 12 points in the span.