The Sudbury Wolves entered the General Motors Centre trailing the Generals by just two points for top spot and while the bus pulled out with Sudbury trailing by three points after a 2-1 shootout loss, the message was sent that the battle lines have been drawn.
“I thought it was a great hockey game,” said Wolves head coach Paul Fixter. “We certainly had opportunities and chances to score. It was back and forth. I’m very proud of the guys — the third game in three nights and the travel involved, that’s not an excuse, but it’s tough and these guys competed very, very hard.”
The two teams went back and forth with chances, but the game remained scoreless after two periods. The Generals got on the scoreboard and held the lead up until some hard work by Connor Crisp behind the Oshawa net resulted in a pass out front to a wide-open Dominik Kahun, who scored his sixth of the season to tie the game at 1-1.
Overtime would solve nothing, sending the game to a shootout. Nick Baptiste, Kahun and Radek Faska all failed to score on Generals goalie Daniel Altschuller while Franky Palazzese stopped Dylan Smoskowitz and Scott Laughton before Latour scored what turned out to be the game winner.
“To be able to come out in the third game of 3-in-3 and compete with these guys is something we can be proud of,” said Crisp. “I know for a fact that every single guy in that locker room left it all on the ice and gave it all they had. When guys can show heart and determination like that in a playoff-type game, it’s something huge.”
After the shootout loss, the Wolves season record is 24-10-3-4 good for 55 points, three points behind Oshawa for top spot in the Conference, but the Wolves have two games in hand.
“Not to look too far ahead, but if we were to meet the Generals in the playoffs, what a series that would be,” said Fixter.
The Wolves ended the weekend by taking five out of a possible six points after a 4-2 win on home ice Friday night over Mississauga and a 4-2 win in Belleville Saturday night.
The Wolves continue a stretch of six straight games on the road next weekend with stops in Plymouth, Saginaw and Windsor.
-Wolves scratches: Kyle Capobianco (healthy), David Zeppieri (healthy) and Brody Silk (upper body).
-Wolves captain Kevin Raine left the game mid-way through the third period with an undisclosed injury, and while he returned to the bench, he didn’t take another shift.
-The Wolves outshot the Generals 35-30.
-Sudbury was 0-3 on the power play while Oshawa was 0-4.
-3 Stars: 1) Daniel Altshuller (OSH); 2) Bradley Latour (OSH); 3) Franky Palazzese (SUD).