Wolves far from ready to admit defeat

By: Scott Haddow – Straight Up Sports

 | Mar 24, 2014 - 2:44 PM |
Sudbury Wolves defender Craig Duininck says the Pack might be down two games in their series against the Barrie Colts, but it is still too early to call the series over. Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Sudbury Wolves defender Craig Duininck says the Pack might be down two games in their series against the Barrie Colts, but it is still too early to call the series over. Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Slim margin of error between Wolves, Colts

Craig Duininck and the Sudbury Wolves are in a hole they feel they can get out of.

Down two games to none after two road defeats to the Barrie Colts in their first-round playoff series, the Wolves have regrouped and are ready to be ungracious hosts as the series shifts to Sudbury for Games 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Thursday this week. Game time for both is 7 p.m.

“The biggest positive about the two losses is we didn’t play to our full potential yet,” Duininck said. “We only lost by one goal in each game. If we play the way we can, and we are confident we can on Tuesday, we will be successful.

“Every team faces adversity in the playoffs. We are facing it right now. We will get over it.”

The Wolves were beat 3-2 in Game 1 on March 20 and lost 4-3 in overtime in Game 2 on March 22 in Barrie. With little separating the teams on the score sheet, it comes down to the basics for the Wolves. The players know what must be done and know they have to earn a victory in Game 3 no matter what.

“We know what we were doing wrong,” Duininck said. “We were turning the puck over a lot. We just have to simplify our game.

“We have to get pucks deep, forecheck, hit, stay out of the penalty box and get a lot of pucks on their goalie. If we do that for three periods, we will be fine. They were expected to win at home. Now, we are expected to win at home.

“If we all do our jobs right, we will go back to Barrie with the series tied 2-2.”
The Wolves forged the fourth best home record in the Eastern Conference in the regular season. Sudbury Arena must continue to be a hostile environment for the opposition.

“The margin of error between the two teams is small,” Sudbury head coach Paul Fixter said. “We have to use home ice to our advantage. We were better in the second game than Game 1, that is for sure.

“One-goal games are what the playoffs are all about. We have to find a way to win one-goal games in the playoffs. We are not feeling down. We believe.”

Despite two road losses, there was plenty for the Wolves to build off for Games 3 and 4. At the same time, there are a few issues that need immediate and decisive attention if the Wolves are going to breath new life into the series.

“Our energy was good in Game 2,” Fixter said. “Our legs were good. We cut down on turnovers. We have to learn from turnovers. The winning goal in Game 2, we didn’t get the puck deep and turned it over and Barrie scored. We have to eliminate it from our game.

“We have to capitalize on our power-play opportunities. We have to stay out of the penalty box. Barrie did a good job of getting under our skin — again, playoff hockey. We must be disciplined.”

Headshot: pancel, nathan

Player Pulse

Here is a quick look at the scoring leaders and goalie numbers for Barrie and Sudbury after two games.

Nathan Pancel and Mathew Campagna were catalysts all regular season for the Wolves and the two are doing it again early in the post season. Pancel has two goals and four points, while Campagna has one goal and three points.

Sudbury grinder Ray Huether has one goal and two points. Barrie’s veteran winger Zach Hall didn’t post big numbers in the regular season, but he has come alive in the playoffs with three goals, including the OT winner in Game 2.

Barrie forwards Kevin Labanc (2-1-2-3) and Justin Scott (2-2-0-2) have done their part to help give Barrie the lead.

Between the pipes, Sudbury’s Franky Palazzese is 0-2 with a 3.47 goals-against-average and .901 save percentage. Barrie’s Mackenzie Blackwood is 2-0 with a 2.47 GAA and .921 save percentage.

The Wolves will be without the services of forward Jacob Harris (upper body) and defenceman Conor Cummins (upper body).

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