Fixter pleased with effort despite Wolves shootout loss

By: Scott Haddow – Straight Up Sports

 | Feb 27, 2014 - 10:53 AM |
Sudbury Wolves forward Ray Huether tries to jam the puck past Greyhounds netminder Matt Murray. The Wolves lost 2-1 in a shoothout, but head coach Paul Fixter was pleased with the effort the team put in. Photo by Scott Haddow.

Sudbury Wolves forward Ray Huether tries to jam the puck past Greyhounds netminder Matt Murray. The Wolves lost 2-1 in a shoothout, but head coach Paul Fixter was pleased with the effort the team put in. Photo by Scott Haddow.

Soo wins brings Pack's slump to eight losses in 11 games

The Sudbury Wolves need their resolve right now. The Wolves lost 2-1 in a shootout to the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Wednesday night at Sudbury Community Arena.

It marked the eighth loss in the month of February for Sudbury in 11 games.

Sudbury head coach Paul Fixter was pleased with a more gritty effort against the Soo and knows he has to keep the players in the right frame of mind in order to get back on track, stringing wins together instead of losses.

“We’ve been looking to get our compete level up and our energy and our determination,” Fixter said. “We had that today. We competed hard. For our psyche, it was a good point. It’s a bit of relief to get a point and play the right way and play hard.”

The challenge for the team, he said, is to avoid costly errors. Fixter said his personal challenge is a bit different.

“We are a club right now where our margin for error is very small. It seems every time we make a mistake, it ends up in the back of our net,” he said. “I think the guys are playing a little tight. It’s my job … to keep them loose and staying positive. It’s not easy. There are only two emotions in this business — winning and losing. One is a great feeling and the other isn’t.”

All the scoring came in the first period. Sudbury drew first blood when Brody Silk, playing in only his fourth game since missing 56 games due to shoulder surgery, ripped a goal from the slot at 13:08 to make it 1-0.

It was Silk’s first goal of the season. The Soo tied the game when Patrick Watling scored at 19:44.

Both teams lambasted the goalies with shots — 85 in total through regulation and overtime — but the goalies stood their ground. Sudbury’s Franky Palazzese stopped 37 shots while the Soo’s Matt Murray thwarted 45.

In the shootout, the Greyhounds’ Jared McCann and Charley Graaskamp both scored while Sudbury’s Nicholas Baptiste and Trevor Carrick were denied and that ended the game.

Silk was thrilled to finally pot a goal after being on the sidelines for most of the season. He just wished it made more of a difference in the game.

“It was a special one to get,” Silk said. “We all worked hard and contributed, obviously we wanted the two points.”

If there is one player on the Wolves roster who knows how to remain positive regardless of the situation, it is Silk. The rugged winger missed nearly his entire fourth season in the OHL recovering from surgery.

Silk sees no reason to be negative despite the team’s recent woes. Even though they earned one point and took a loss, the Wolves will build off the game and hope for a better result in their next match.

“It gives us a boost of confidence,” Silk said. “It’s definitely tough when you’re not winning games, a little bit frustrating, but the time will come when we are winning. It was a good team effort. I thought that game could have gone either way.”

The Greyhounds took the Bell Fibre Op Challenge Cup series with four wins to two. The Northern Ontario rivalry between the Soo and Sudbury burned hot at times this season and the Greyhounds were pumped to take the points from Sudbury.

“They are a hard team to play against and every game is a battle,” Soo defenceman Darnell Nurse said. “It was a good rivalry this season and hard-fought games.”

The Wolves host the top team in the OHL — the Guelph Storm — Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Sudbury then hosts the Niagara IceDogs on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Game notes
The game’s three stars were: Matt Murray (first), Franky Palazzese (second) and Brody Silk (Third).
The Wolves scratched Craig Duininck, Connor Burgess, Conor Cummins and Nathan Pancel.
The Greyhounds scratched Jorgen Karterud, Keigan Goetz, David Eccles and Michael Bunting.

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