Saturday night in Belleville is exactly the nice tidy road game they were looking for. The 4-2 win over the Bulls improved their road record to 7-7-3-2, but more importantly it was the way they won.
The Bulls, in last place in the Eastern Conference and 24 points back of the Wolves in the standings, are the exact type of team that would have given the Wolves problems earlier this season.
“It was a nice win” said head coach Paul Fixter after the game. “Everybody contributed, everybody played a lot of minutes and you know what, it was a real good team effort.”
The Wolves got the offence going early as newcomer Radek Faska scored his first goal in a Wolves uniform at 1:01 of the first period. They led 2-1 after the first period after Nick Baptiste’s 23rd goal of the season. Matt Schmalz got his second of the season in the second period as the Wolves took a 3-1 lead into the third. Dominik Kahun rounded out the scoring with his fifth of the season.
Schmalz liked the way the team played. “They have a small and quick team, but what we did is lay the body on them and made sure we took their space away.” “It was an all around team effort.”
Head coach Paul Fixter juggled all four of his lines he used in Friday night’s win over Mississauga.
“I changed the lines again as I like to do” said Fixter. The thinking behind that is I want to spread out the scoring, I don’t want us to be an easy team to check and it’s a way of doing that.” “I think you have to prepare for each team differently and know who you are playing against and you make your lines accordingly.”
With the win, the Wolves fifth in a row and 14th in their last 15 games, they improve their record to 24-10-3-3, good for 54 points, just two back of Oshawa, who lead the Eastern Conference.
It didn’t take long after the win over the Bulls until the focus shifted to the first place showdown.
“We needed these points to put us two points behind Oshawa for top spot, and you know that is really important,” said Nick Baptiste. “For us now, we’ll enjoy this one for a little bit, but we have to focus on the huge game tomorrow.”
“We’ve been trying to get good habits this weekend,” said Matt Schmalz. “It started Friday night and then went into tonight...now we need to carry them into Oshawa.”
“You can’t worry about tomorrow until you get through today.” said Fixter. “I think we did a good job of that as a team. Obviously they are pretty excited about the Oshawa game and I am really looking forward to it. At this point of the year to get that excited is a great feeling.”
- Wolves scratches...Conor Cummins (healthy), David Zeppieri (healthy), Brody Silk (upper body).
- Rookie goalie Troy Timpano got the start and kicked out 29 of the 31 shots he faced to pick up his third win of the season.
- The Wolves outshot the Bulls 37-31.