Wolves show com­po­sure

Sud­bury erases three-goal deficit, falls 4-3 in shootout

The Sudbury Star - - SPORTS - BEN LEESON THE SUD­BURY STAR blee­son@post­media.com Twit­ter: @ben_lee­son

The Sud­bury Wolves made some youth­ful mis­takes Wed­nes­day night, but showed the kind of re­silience that should en­cour­age the home­town faith­ful.

The Pack fell be­hind 3-0 early in the sec­ond pe­riod of a pre-sea­son con­test against the North Bay Bat­tal­ion, but bat­tled back to tie be­fore fall­ing 4-3 in a shootout at Sud­bury Com­mu­nity Arena.

Bran­don Bas­tasin, Zach Wilkie and Daw­son Baker scored for Sud­bury, which out­shot North Bay 44-19 over three pe­ri­ods. David Bowen made his de­but in goal for the Wolves, stop­ping 16 shots.

“It’s a good step in the right di­rec­tion,” Wilkie said. “Our young guys are al­ready buy­ing in, which is re­ally good, and us older guys have to keep be­ing lead­ers out there and show­ing them the ropes, but it’s good that we have that re­silience and we’re go­ing to carry that into the reg­u­lar sea­son, for sure.”

Bran­don Coe, Si­mon Rose and Adam McMaster scored for North Bay. McMaster and lo­cal prod­uct Bradley Che­nier added shootout goals and Mat Woro­niuk was solid in turn­ing aside 41 shots for the visi­tors.

“We dug our­selves a hole here, be­ing down 3-0,” Wolves head coach Cory Still­man said. “One-0 af­ter the first was OK, we were out­shoot­ing them and changed mo­men­tum of the game early, but then to give up two quick goals within 1:30 in the sec­ond pe­riod is tough, but we bat­tled back and started to play with en­ergy and started to cre­ate turnovers and ob­vi­ously, when you cre­ate turnovers, you cre­ate chances. We did score three goals and it would have been nice to score a few more.”

The Wolves had a much bet­ter start than in their loss to Mis­sis­sauga last week, out­shoot­ing the Bat­tal­ion 16-6 in the first 20 min­utes and cre­at­ing a hand­ful of qual­ity chances. Bowen an­nounced his ar­rival with a high­light-reel glove save to pop a crowd that in­cluded his fa­ther, long­time Toronto Maple Leafs broad­caster Joe Bowen.

It was North Bay’s Coe who opened the scor­ing, how­ever, tak­ing ad­van­tage of a de­fen­sive lapse to con­vert a nice feed from McMaster at 14:12.

Rose floated a point shot past Bowen just 1:05 into the sec­ond frame, then McMaster took ad­van­tage of a Sud­bury mis­cue to drive off the wing and lift a shot over Bowen’s shoul­der at 1:33.

Bas­tasin was sent off for check­ing from be­hind near the mid­way mark of the sec­ond stanza, but emerged from the sin bin to con­vert a Drake Pilon feed and cut North Bay’s lead to 3-1 at 11:03. Owen Lane had the other as­sist.

The Wolves had sev­eral more qual­ity scor­ing chances, in­clud­ing Daw­son Baker on a short­handed two-on-one with Nolan Hutch­e­son, An­thony Tabak on a break­away and Lane from point­blank range, but they couldn’t beat Woro­niuk be­fore the buzzer.

Wilkie fired a rocket from the point and past Woro­niuk just 15 sec­onds into the third to make it a one-goal game. Owen Gil­hula and An­thony Tabak as­sisted.

One of two over­agers on the Sud­bury blue­line, Wilkie wants to play a key role this sea­son.

“Be­ing an older guy, I have to be a leader back there,” he said. “What­ever the coaches’ plans are, that’s up to them, but I have to do my job and that’s what I plan on be­ing, a hard, phys­i­cal de­fence­man and if I can chip in on the of­fence like I did tonight, that’s great.”

Dar­ian Pilon nearly got a break­away of his own while com­ing out of the penalty box, but Woro­niuk dove well out of his crease to stop the Wolves for­ward. North Bay’s goalie couldn’t cover the puck, how­ever, al­low­ing the trail­ing Baker score the ty­ing marker at 5:52.

Baker was the sec­ond Wolves rookie to tally in pre-sea­son, fol­low­ing Hutch­e­son last week. Still­man was pleased with the ef­fort from his younger play­ers.

“They’re play­ing well and they’re mak­ing it tough on ev­ery­body,” Sud­bury’s coach said. “You can sit there and ask who stood out ... but over­all, to me it be­comes a team game. We’re work­ing hard and the young guys are start­ing to re­al­ize the pace of the game keeps get­ting faster ev­ery game we play and ev­ery week, and as long as they con­tinue to climb, to get bet­ter, they’re go­ing to stay in the lineup.

“If you look, I think you’ll see I have been play­ing ev­ery­body. Ev­ery­one has been killing penal­ties, play­ing on the power play, four on four, five on five. As a new coach­ing staff, we want to see who can go in and play in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions, be­cause when the sea­son starts, not ev­ery­one is go­ing to play power play and not ev­ery­one is go­ing to play penalty kill, so find your nor­mal line and find what you can do on spe­cialty team ice in or­der to get on the ice more.”

The Wolves will fin­ish their ex­hi­bi­tion sched­ule with a home­and-home se­ries against the Soo Greyhounds, start­ing with a game in Sud­bury on Fri­day at 7 p.m. and wrap­ping up with a visit to Sault Ste. Marie on Sun­day at 2 p.m.

Still­man ex­pected to ice a dif­fer­ent lineup and spe­cial teams for the last two pre-sea­son con­tests. Among the play­ers avail­able will be for­ward Michael Pezzetta, who re­turned from the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens’ rookie camp this week.

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