La Ronge Ice Wolves
La Ronge Ice Wolves
The first period didn't see any sparks until Landon Belchamber scored just after the halfway mark. 5 minutes in to the period Brenden Enns picked up his 1st of 4 penalties, this time for tripping. Clint Pirio would spend 2 minutes in the box for interference which saw the Ice Wolves create a few scoring chances on netminder Tyrel King, who made 11 saves in his half of the contest. The first would wind down with both teams eventually going 0/2 on the PP's, and Melfort leading 1-0 despite being outshot 11-9.
Just 1:13 in to the period, Jamie Miller found a puck in front of La Ronge goalie Jared Lafond and beat the Meadow Lake product. Gage Rapitta and Matt Saunderson got assists. I chatted with Saunderson after the game, and you can hear that at the bottom of the recap. That lead would not last long though, as La Ronge cut it to 2-1 just 8 seconds later on Jason Duret's 1st of get this, 5 goals. The 17 year old had 13 goals in the SMHL in all of last season. Nathan Boyer would get his 1st of 5 assists, and Owen LeClare also assisted. Just over a minute after that, after Enns took his 3rd penalty of the evening, Landon Belchamber tipped in a point shot to restore the 2 goal lead on the power play. The initial shot came from the stick of Brandon Parrone, who was set up d-to-d with Jay Aasen. 4 minutes later the Ice Wolves would strike on the power play as Owen LeClare beat King. LeClare ended up finishing with 1+3 on the night. 46 seconds later, the Ice Wolves would tie the game on Duret's 2nd of the game, with Darian Clarke and Boyer assisting. Teams would exchange penalties, opportunities, and eventually even goaltenders before Mitch Hewson(from my hometown of Vernon, BC) beat Jesse Wilkins to go bar down and give his team the lead with under 2 to go in the period. La Ronge would hang on to the 4-3 lead heading in to period 3, but were down 21-17 in shots.
Under 5 minutes in the Mustangs would tie the game on a beauty in front of the net from Avery van Blaricom. Zach Walker got the puck down low and Regan Wilton's work led to the puck on van Blaricom's stick and into the back of the net. The Ice Wolves would put the 'cat in the hat'(see this link) by scoring the go-ahead ahead on the powerplay, on an absolute snipe by Duret(his hat-trick goal). And then 1:15 later, Duret struck again on a goalmouth scramble. Assists on the first goal to Boyer and LaClare, while the second was unassisted.The Mustangs woke up with just over 5 minutes to go, and boy did they ever get going. Jarrett Zentner buried his 1st of the night on a beauty cross crease pass by new recruit Brandon Formosa. 3 minutes later, Formosa worked more magic sending a pass to Matt Saunderson, who fired the puck hard and low and beat Leduc, Alberta's Kyle Hynes(an ex-coworker of mine in junior high). Tying the game up was huge for the Mustangs, who once held a 3-1 lead. The last few minutes would be a scramble and both teams ended up forcing overtime at a 6-6 deadlock. Shots in the 3rd favored the 'Stangs again, 13-8 for a total of 34-25.
The Mustangs looked sharp maintaining possession in to overtime but a offensive zone turnover would send... guess who, away to the races. Nathan Boyer streaked up the left side and cut right before getting a shot on net, and there on the doorstep was Jason Duret for his 5th goal of the night and the overtime winner on the 1st shot of overtime. Final score, 7-6 La Ronge.
-Jason Duret: What do you say about the 17 year old? He nearly halved his goal total from last season(13) in one nights work. Looked smart with and without the puck, went to dirty spots, got in face of opponent and it paid off.
-Nathan Boyer: I thought Boyer was playing on-par with Duret, but a little less shooting-dangerous, he liked to dish... to Duret! He was awesome on the rush and always knew where to go to create the best potential for he and his linemates. Good player that will really help the young players from what I saw of him.
-Kyle Hynes: Looked solid in the net and made a solid 19 saves, played well under pressure. I can't put a comparison to his style but he is very good at getting around in his net, and even better at covering the bottom half. I spoke with him post-game, see below for interview!
-Brandon Sloan: I was very impressed with Sloan tonight. He displayed some of the better perseverance of the players on the ice tonight, and he made his patience would eventually pay off with an assist on the Saunderson goal. He didn't have many points in a high scoring game, but it was no indication of the game he played.
-Landon Belchamber: Sometimes a guy earns his way on to the Standouts list simply by scoring goals, but that's not what Landon did. He was always moving his feet and was always chomping at the bit to just get in the front of the net. He tipped in a beautiful goal and that gave him some confidence that you could tell carried in to the latter-half of the game. I see him scoring more than the 5 goals he scored last season.
-Jamie Miller: Very smart player that really almost needed to calm his energy down a little, or my play by play could have suffered. He was flying around the ice with the puck and seemed to always know where he was going and how to get there. Got stymied a few times up the wall but still beat a few guys wide with his speed. He will be a strong player this season.
-Zach Walker: Seemed to play the most ice time of anyone, along with Carter Berg; and they both make the list for it. They both played so well in both the offensive zone and defensive zone. They will be a tough duo to beat this season, especially if they continue to work the puck between them so fluently. Walker had an assist, but they both deserved 2. Strong game from them both.
My Chat with Bob Beatty, Head Coach of the La Ronge Ice Wolves:
My chat with La Ronge goalie Kyle Hynes:
And lastly, I had a chat with the man who scored the big goal to tie the game, Matt Saunderson.
-Brenden Enns had 4 penalties, 3 of which were stick infractions. 2 more and his night could have been over according to rules where I am from, what are the rules here can anyone fill me in?
-The Hawks travel to La Ronge on Friday night for their final games of the exhibition season. Regular season opens September 21st vs Flin Flon at the Palace! Visit the Mustangs office for tickets!
-The blog has now surpassed 2,400 views this month. My previous record high was in March when my BC Senior AAA Savage Cup coverage gained me 1,200 views. I thank everyone for reading and if their is anything I can do for you, don't be shy! Find my profile up there and shoot me an email!
The Hawks have a home-and-home with Humboldt beginning tonight at 7:30 in Humboldt. The two teams will return to Nipawin tomorrow night, again for a 7:30 start. Their season opens on the 21st in La Ronge, that game can be heard online at yourtownnews.ca or on CJVR.