Wolves shot down by Spitfires

By: Stew Kernan - Pack Mentality

 | Jan 20, 2014 - 9:30 AM |
While the Wolves struggled on the weekend, forward Nathan Cull was on fire, netting a goal and playing hard enough he was rewarded with extra ice time. Terry Wilson/OHL Images

While the Wolves struggled on the weekend, forward Nathan Cull was on fire, netting a goal and playing hard enough he was rewarded with extra ice time. Terry Wilson/OHL Images

When the Wolves were in the midst of winning 16 of 18 games from Nov. 17 to Jan. 11, there wasn’t much to worry about.

But registering just one win in their last four has brought the realization there is always something to work on and right now it appears to be goal scoring.
During this stretch, the Wolves have scored just one goal in three of those games, including Sunday’s 3-1 loss in Windsor.

It is a problem that has Head Coach Paul Fixter concerned.

“Obviously, we’re not scoring enough goals and our power-play has gone south,” Fixter said. “We’re squeezing our sticks a little tight right now, but that to me is not the area of concern — my concern today was our work ethic, it wasn’t good enough, and we got out-worked.”

The Wolves and Spitfires were scoreless after the first period Sunday afternoon and it was Windsor who scored first, early in the second period short-handed. It was the second straight game the Wolves gave up a short-handed goal.

But a hard working shift by fourth liners Nathan Cull, Danny Desrochers and Connor Burgess resulted in Cull’s fourth goal of the season at 17:35 of the second to send the game into the third tied 1-1.

For Cull, it wrapped up a strong weekend of play that on more than one occasion saw him rewarded with extra ice time.

“I’m satisfied with my play”, said Cull. “I put the puck in the net today with the help of Burgess and Desrochers and the coach put me up on a line with Mathew Campagna and Dominik Kahun, and it was fun playing with guys with that kind of talent.”

However, the Spitfires scored two unanswered goals in the third period to seal the 3-1 win.

Wolves captain Kevin Raine was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a knee on knee hit on Spitfires forward Steven James late in the third. It’s expected the play will be reviewed by the league and will likely result in a suspension against Raine.

While the Wolves penalty kill is much improved, the power play that was one of the best in the Ontario Hockey League early in the season has gone stone cold. It was 0-3 against the Spitfires and is 0-24 in 2014 with the last Sudbury power-play goal coming Dec. 31st, 2013 in a 2-1 shoot-out win in North Bay.

The Wolves finished the weekend 1-2 after a 4-3 loss in Saginaw on Saturday night and a 1-0 win in Plymouth on Friday night.

With the loss in Windsor on Sunday, the Wolves season record drops to 25-12-3-4 with their road record dropping back below the .500 mark at 8-9-3-3.

Game Notes:

- Wolves scratches: Craig Duininck (lower body), David Zeppieri (healthy) and Brody Silk (upper body).
- The Wolves out-shot the Spitfires 33-27.
- The Wolves power-play was 0-3 while the Spitfires went 1-6.
- 3 Stars: 1) Brady Vail (WSR) 2) Sam Povorozniouk (WSR) 3) Alex Fotinos (WSR).

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