By Shannon Hurst - Smithers Interior News
Published: November 17, 2010 8:00 AM
After months of battling for their first win, the Hazelton Wolverines finally picked up their first two points of the year in an exciting 4-3 shoot out win over the Kitimat Ice Demons on Sunday.
Head Coach Fred Hudson and the team couldn’t be happier and they have high hopes to keep picking up the wins.
“It was a great game, good effort from everyone and I really believe hard work equals success and Sunday was the day it finally paid off,” Hudson said. “We made a couple line up changes for Sunday and it paid off. Most importantly, it was really nice to see the guys get their first win. I have been saying all along that we are a good team we just need to come together.”
The Wolverines were the first on the board early into the first when Nick Lees hammered one into the twine unassisted. However, Kitimat answered back at the midway mark of the opening period and the first 20 minutes ended up 1-1. In the second, Hazelton continued to apply the pressure and it finally paid off at 9:35 when Phil Morrison drilled one in to take the lead. Four minutes later Brandon Russell widened the gap when he fired one in to the net off a set up from Sky Jones and Morrison. Yet, as fortune would have it the Hazelton net minder, Keano Wilson had a player fall on him and ended up getting a cut to his leg and having to be pulled from the game. This meant Cody Smith had to step between the pipes cold and the Ice Demons pounced on him.
Within three minutes Kitimat had taken Hazelton’s 3-1 lead and turned it into a 4-3 game in their favour by the end of the middle period.
After the break, the Wolverines regained their composure, Smith settled in and the ice was theirs again.
With 4:40 remaining in the game, Hazelton got the break they were looking for when Matt Ranahan nailed one it to tie the game off a play from Keegan Jack and Travis Bebee. The last four minutes flew past and into the shoot out both teams went. Kitimat scored first and Hazelton answered right back but that was it until the 8th shooter, Russell, beat the Kitimat goalie capturing the win for his team and an excited Hazelton barn.
“Keano played outstanding until he got hurt and Cody settled down and was unstoppable,” Hudson reflected. “This is the kind of win you can learn a lot from because not only did we battle for the lead but there was lots of opportunities to quit but no one did and they played their hearts out.”
The win came off the back of tough loss on Saturday night to Kitimat when they fell 6-3.
“As a group we weren’t working hard enough,” Hudson explained. “We came out and did our usual, no one showed up to play and I read them the riot act at intermission and they came out like there was no tomorrow and dominated for 8 minutes but they went flat again. That is a problem with a lot of young teams even the Edmonton Oilers… it’s hard to be consistent when you are young team and it is a learning process.”
Kitimat was first on the board in the Saturday night game and as they headed into the second, the Ice Demons were leading 3-0. After Hudson’s pep talk the team came out hard and got two quick goals. One by Bebee three minutes in off Jack and Cody Stevens and Patrick O’Brien put one in off a feed from Mitch Marshall. However, Hazelton ran out of steam and Kitimat once again widened the lead to make it 5-2 heading into the final period. With 1:42 left in the game the Ice Demons put one more point on the board but the Wolverines weren’t going quietly and Russell drilled on more in off Jack and O’Brien with only 10 seconds left to finish 6-3.
The team has this weekend off before heading to Prince Rupert on the 27th, 28th.