Wolves just can't win in Kitchener

By: Stew Kernan - Pack Mentality

 | Feb 10, 2014 - 8:36 AM |
Sudbury Wolves goaltender Franky Palazzese stopped 46 of the 48 shots he faced as the team played Kitchener Feb. 9. File photo.

Sudbury Wolves goaltender Franky Palazzese stopped 46 of the 48 shots he faced as the team played Kitchener Feb. 9. File photo.

It’s one of those hard to explain oddities in the Ontario Hockey League — why can’t the Sudbury Wolves win in Kitchener?

The question will remain unanswered for at least one more year, as the Wolves lost in Kitchener Feb. 9 3-2 in a shoot-out.

With the loss, the Wolves have a record of 0-20-3-1 in their 24 visits to the Memorial Auditorium. The last time the Wolves won in Kitchener was Oct. 22, 1995.

Head Coach Paul Fixter said his team just didn’t generate enough offence.

“We didn’t have enough offence zone play,” said Fixter after the game. “We didn’t put enough pucks to the net and we didn’t skate with them. They are a good skating club and I thought they were a little faster than us tonight.”

One of the reasons the Wolves did have a chance to put an end to the losing streak in Kitchener was the play of goaltender Franky Palazzese, who stopped 46 of the 48 shots he faced — several stops that could only be described as spectacular.

“I thought I played really well,” said Palazzese. “I feel like I’ve been in a groove for three months now playing some of the best hockey I’ve ever played. But tonight it wasn’t good enough because at the end of the day we lost.”

Palazzese says getting a point for the shoot-out loss isn’t good enough.

“We lost a point, is the way I look at it,” said Palazzese. “They wanted to win more than we did and they showed it. They out hit us, out worked us and out chanced us. It was a really disappointing loss.”

The game was also a hom coming for four members of the Wolves.

Palazzese and Matt Schmalz were making their second return to Kitchener since being acquired by the Wolves in a trade in Janaury 2013, while Radek Faksa was playing his first game against his old team. The Wolves picked him up in a trade prior to this year’s trade deadline.

Also, head coach Paul Fixter was returning to the city where he grew up, played minor hockey and spent five years as an assistant coach with the Rangers.

“It was an emotional game,” said Fixter. I don’t get butterflies very often, but I had them tonight. It was fun to be back in this building, it’s a great environment, but unfortunately we came up one goal short.”

Palazzese received a standing ovation from the Kitchener fans after skating onto the ice to receive second star honours.

“I loved playing in Kitchener,” said Palazzese. “It was one of the best times of life. The fans were great. When I went out as second star, probably the last time at the Aud for me, it was special. The reception from the fans was appreciated.”

Game Notes:

- Wolves scratches: Danny Desrochers (unknown), Trevor Carrick (upper body) and Brody Silk (upper body).
- Kitchener out-shot the Wolves 48-29.
- The Wolves were 0-1 on the power-play while the Rangers were 0-3.
- The 3 Stars: 1) Darby Llewellyn (KIT) 2) Franky Palazzese (SBY) 3) Matthew Greenfield (KIT).

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