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|Prince George Cougars|
August 20, 2012
The Sudbury Wolves faced the championship Riga Jr. team from Latvia today and despite their best efforts, the Wolves fell short losing 2-1 in a shoot-out. The Wolves inserted a number of rookies into their line-up for today's game including: Goaltender TAYLOR DUPUIS, defencemen EVAN de HAAN and CONOR CUMMINS and forwards DOMINIK KUBALIK, DOMINIK KUHAN, FRANCESCO VILARDI and CONNOR BURGESS. DUPUIS, was the Wolves' player of the game today and made a number of terrific saves to preserve a key point for the Wolves.
The two evenly-matched teams played to a scoreless tie after the first period. The teams traded goals in the second frame with Latvian's Rikard Bukarts getting the goal in a goal-mouth scramble with Dupuis having no chance. The goal was scored at the 4:22 mark of the period.
The Wolves then had to kill off a 5 minute match penalty to FRANK CORRADO for kneeing a Latvian player. Corrado was expelled from the game and was also handed a one-game suspension. The Latvian player was taken off of the ice on a stretcher as the injury appeared very serious. To everyone's surprise, the injured player returned to the Latvian bench shortly thereafter and finished the game.
Wolves' forward SAM SCHUTT then scored a highlight reel goal on a great solo effort with DOMINIK KAHUN getting the assist. The 18 year old veteran from Palmer Rapids, Ontario cut across the front of the net before rifling a shot into the top corner. The goal inspired the Wolves and they out-played the Latvian's from that point onwards. Only the play of Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlievskis prevented the Wolves from claiming victory. The big goaltender stoned Wolves' sharp-shooters time and time again as the teams went scoreless in the third period.
Shots on goal in the contest were 10 - 7 for Latvia in the first and 13-7 for Latvia in the second period. The Wolves out-shot Latvia 10-9 in the third period and 3-1 in overtime despite having to kill off two minor penalties assessed against Sudbury in the five minute overtime period. Total shots on goal were 33-27 in favour of Latvia.
The Wolves finished the game 0 for 7 on the power play while Latvia was 0 for 8 on the power play. The Wolves penalty killing was very good as they had to kill-off two 5 on 3 situations during the game as well as a five minute major penalty to Corrado. The Wolves also had to kill off a 2 minute minor penalty to MATHEW CAMPAGNA in the five minute overtime frame.
In the shoot-out, the Wolves first three shooters were MATHEW CAMPAGNA, JOSH LEIVO and DEREK SCHOENMAKERS. All three forwards were stymied by the Latvian goaltender. At the other end, rookie goaltender TAYLOR DUPUIS stopped the Latvian’s top three shooters as well.
Latvia scored on the 4th attempt and CAMPAGNA was selected once again by Coach Cull. This time CAMPAGNA made no mistake and scored to tie the shoot-out. Latvia answered with another shoot-out goal and CAMPAGNA was tapped once again by Coach Cull. This time the Latvian goalie made a nice save on a forehand deke by CAMPAGNA which sealed victory for the Riga team.
Wolves’ Head Coach Trent Cull was pleased with his team’s effort despite the shoot-out loss. “I thought Taylor Dupuis really kept us in there today and he was our best penalty-killer” said Cull. “He made some big stops and showed us what he can do.” Cull added, “It was our first back-to-back game situation in four months and I thought we looked a little weary out there at times, but, the boys gave it their all. With any kind of break, we would have won this game but their goaltender played well too. Overall I was pretty pleased with the way we competed against an older skilled team. I thought our seven kids did a good job for us as well.”
For this game, the Wolves were without defencemen: JUSTIN SEFTON (injury), FRANK CORRADO (suspension), forwards NICK BAPTISTE, JAKE HARRIS, CHAD THIBODEAU and goaltender JOEL VIENNEAU (injury).
The Wolves will now have some time to rest and heal some injuries before playing the DENMARK U20 National team on Wednesday. Game time is 3:00 pm in Siberia (4 a.m. in Sudbury). The Wolves will be looking to take a stranglehold of a berth in the semi-finals with a big win on Wednesday. Denmark dropped their first two games of the tournament losing 4-2 to Team Finland and 5-3 to Team Sweden.