Wolves open season with losses, but positive signs
Slave Lake’s Jr. ‘B’ hockey team launched its 2008/09 season on the weekend by taking the league champion Peace River Navigators to a shoot-out on Friday night in Peace River. Although Peace River won in the shoot-out, the game has to be regarded as a positive beginning for the young club, which experienced little but futility in the Nav’s barn last season.
Back home on Saturday night for their home opener, the Wolves stumbled out of the gate, giving up three quick goals to the opportunistic Navigators. They tightened things up considerably after that, but ended up losing 7 – 3. One fan tells The Leader that apart from the shaky start, he thought the Wolves played “really well,” and even out-played Peace for much of the second and third periods.
Gerry Young of the Navigators started the game off with a natural hat trick, much to the dismay of the home crowd. At 12:02 the Wolves responded with an Alex MacIsaac powerplay goal, assisted by Kyle Pichette and Nicholas Plourde.
The Navigators had an answer for that, scoring two more 15 seconds apart to go ahead 5 – 1.
In the second the Wolves came out strong, putting up 23 shots and scoring twice. MacIsaac got the first one, also on the powerplay, from Shaun Kubel and rookie Colter Tkach. Kurtis Kubel made it a 5 – 3 game with nine minutes to go in the period, from Nick Plourde and Gunner Persson.
Peace got one of those back with two minutes left, and added one more in the third.
The Wolves started Nico Perry in net, and replaced him with Curtis Malbeuf after the rough start. Perry came back in the second period to finish the game.
The Wolves out-shot Peace River 40 – 30 on the game, and had fewer penalty minutes – 14 – 18.
As for the scoring from Friday’s game in Peace River, the game sheet was unavailable at press time. Nor was the NWJHL stats page online helpful; all it shows is a 6 – 2 Peace River win, which contradicts sources with the team.
The Wolves are on the road for a couple of games this week. Saturday they visit Dawson Creek for a game against the Jr. Canucks. The Canucks lost their opener 6 – 5 to Fort St. John. On Sunday the Wolves take on the Sexsmith Vipers, which don’t even appear on the league stats page.
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