Wolves put run on Colts

Sud­bury im­proves to 18-8-1-1 on the sea­son

The Sudbury Star - - SPORTS - BEN LEE­SON THE SUD­BURY STAR

David Levin ad­mits he’s some­times guilty of pass­ing up a good shot to make a pass or an ex­tra move.

“I’m a play­maker, I’m a skill guy, and maybe I just like to do it the hard way, to score my goals,” chuck­led the Sud­bury Wolves for­ward, mo­ments af­ter a 5-1 win over the Barrie Colts on Fri­day night. “I like to look around, make my team­mates good around me, and when I have a chance like I did tonight, I shoot the puck.”

Those team­mates prob­a­bly wouldn’t mind if Levin un­corked his shot more of­ten, nor would his coaches or fans, af­ter watch­ing him rip his team-lead­ing 14th of the sea­son, part of a sec­ond-pe­riod scor­ing spree, at Sud­bury Com­mu­nity Arena on Fri­day.

“I didn’t like our start in the sec­ond pe­riod,” Wolves head coach Cory Still­man said. “We were in our zone, but they we started scor­ing goals when we shot the puck. We have been preach­ing to guys that when you’re in an area, a high-scor­ing zone, shoot it, you don’t have to make the ex­tra play. When guys did that, they found the back of the net.”

Levin fin­ished the con­test with a goal and two as­sists, giv­ing him nine points in his last four games, as Sud­bury im­proved to 18-8-1-1 on the sea­son.

Blake Mur­ray, Dar­ian Pilon, Macauley Car­son and Quin­ton By­field also tick­led the twine, while Ukko-Pekka Luukko­nen made 28 saves in the Wolves’ fifth straight vic­tory.

“I think we played a good al­laround game,” Still­man said. “Our de­fence­men did a good job iden­ti­fy­ing when they flew the zone and when we had op­por­tu­ni­ties to score goals, we did.”

He was happy to see his play­ers re­warded of­fen­sively.

“They’re play­ing hard and they de­serve it. The harder you work, the more you’re go­ing to get chances to score and tonight, the guys cap­i­tal­ized on them.”

Matej Pekar had Barrie’s lone goal. Mak­sim Zhukov al­lowed five goals on 23 shots, all in the mid­dle stanza, be­fore be­ing re­placed for he third by Kai Ed­monds, who turned aside all 10 shots he faced.

Fri­day’s win al­lowed the Wolves to keep pace with the Ni­a­gara IceDogs for the OHL Cen­tral Divi­sion lead. Both teams have 38 points, though Sud­bury has one more win.

“Ev­ery­one was sup­port­ing, we were do­ing the small things we have to do, and that’s what hap­pens when you do it,” said Levin, who leads all Sud­bury skaters with 30 points in 28 games.

The Wolves have lost only two games at home head­ing into Satur­day’s visit by the Guelph Storm, a 4:05 p.m. start.

“I think we just feel com­fort­able here,” Levin said. “It’s our home and es­pe­cially with the fans, you can see it’s get­ting full slowly and they sup­port us, so I’m re­ally happy with that.”

It has been a nice turn­around from the early part of Levin’s OHL ca­reer, when the team strug­gled and at­ten­dance fell off.

“That’s in the past,” Levin said. “I try not to think about the past and now, we’re do­ing re­ally good and I’m happy for ev­ery­one, I think the fans are happy, man­age­ment is happy and ev­ery­one here in the room is happy.”

Barrie had the first five shots, if not the over­all ter­ri­to­rial ad­van­tage, to start Fri­day’s con­test, re­quir­ing Luukko­nen to make a cou­ple of qual­ity saves.

The Wolves show­cased a strong penalty kill on mi­nors to Dar­ian Pilon and An­thony Tabak, spend­ing much of the lat­ter in the of­fen­sive zone. Barrie’s short-handed unit, which en­tered the game with six goals, also showed well in killing a penalty to Ja­son Willms, deny­ing the hosts much chance to get set up.

The Wolves cre­ated a few good op­por­tu­ni­ties as the pe­riod went on, but Owen Gil­hula just missed on a one-timer and two oth­ers, from Mur­ray and Levin in the slot area, were smartly turned aside by Zhukov.

Mur­ray scored his 12th of the sea­son dur­ing a scram­ble at 3:36 of the sec­ond, with as­sists go­ing to Gil­hula and Jack Thomp­son, to open the flood gates for Sud­bury.

Levin fired home his team-lead­ing 14th only 23 sec­onds later, with Owen Robinson get­ting the helper, then Dar­ian Pilon buried a Cole Can­della re­bound only 55 sec­onds af­ter that.

Asked if Levin was one of the play­ers to whom he preaches about tak­ing more shots, Still­man smiled.

“You can ask him that ques­tion,” Still­man said with a laugh. “He’s got a tremen­dous shot and he should use it. He can make plays, but the way he shoots the puck, I think tonight, he’d like to take some of his at­tempted passes back.”

Barrie re­gained some mo­men­tum on the forecheck near the mid­way mark of the pe­riod, but Lu­cas Chiodo’s trip on Thomp­son re­sulted in Car­son’s power-play goal, his sev­enth tally of the sea­son, on a shot from close range at 12:41.

Sud­bury’s spe­cial teams con­tin­ued to shine late in the frame, with a suc­cess­ful kill of a Nolan Hutch­e­son hook­ing call, be­fore By­field scored his 10th of the year with a beau­ti­ful shot at the 17:45 mark.

With the teams play­ing four on four, By­field broke out on a two on one with Em­mett Seren­sits and with Levin trail­ing, teased pass­ing for an in­stant, then ap­peared to sur­prise Zhukov with a shot to the far side. Levin had the as­sist.

A mis­cue be­tween Wolves de­fence­man Liam Ross and goalie Luukko­nen put Barrie on the board at 1:30 of the third.

JOHN LAPPA/SUD­BURY STAR/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Drake Pilon, right, of the Sud­bury Wolves, and Justin Mur­ray, of the Barrie Colts, col­lide dur­ing OHL ac­tion at the Sud­bury Com­mu­nity Arena in Sud­bury, Ont. on Fri­day De­cem­ber 7, 2018.

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