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11/29/2003: LAKEHEAD - 3 @ TORONTO - 3 OT

LAKEHEAD AND TORONTO FIGHT TO 3-3 O/T TIE

Mike Aylward
Saturday, November 29, 2003

The No. 3 Lakehead Thunderwolves and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues fought to an exciting 3-3 overtime tie Saturday night in Toronto.  The win result puts the Thunderwolves' record to 8-2-1 in OUA play (12-3-1 overall) and Toronto's record goes to 2-7-2 in OUA play (2-11-2 overall).  It was a very fast-paced, exciting, and entertaining hockey game, typical of the Lakehead vs. Toronto match-ups over the past three seasons.  The Thunderwolves again fired a lot of shots at their opponent's goal, outshooting Toronto 48-26, but have lost a little of their scoring firepower in their last two games.   


Lakehead came out very fast in the first, eager to get their offense back in gear after scoring only one goal in Windsor Friday night.  They peppered Toronto rookie goaltender Ryan Grinnell throughout the period but Grinnell was up to the task, making a lot of great saves, including three each off dangerous Lakehead scorers Joel Scherban and Jeff Richards.  Grinnell showed his quick reflexes when he got across the net in time to foil Lakehead's Jason Lange's wrap-around attempt.  Lakehead's Mike Wehrstedt gave the Thunderwolves the lead at 13:00, assisted by Erik Lodge.  The period ended with the Blues on a 5 on 3 powerplay, but the Thunderwolves played some great defense to keep the Blues off the scoreboard.  Shots on goal were 15-8 for Lakehead in the first.   


Toronto tied the game early in the second, when Tyler Middlebrook beat Lakehead goalie Cory McEachran at the 50 second mark.  The assist went to Tristan Senior and Simon Barg.  Lakehead's Bryan Duce quickly gave the lead back to the Thunderwolves at 1:14, with assists going to Erik Lodge and Jason Lange.  Lakehead's Chris Shaffer quickly made it 3-1 when he scored at 3:44 on the powerplay.  Assists went to Duce and Scherban.  Lakehead kept up the pressure and the Thunderwolves' Kris Callaway crushed Toronto's Ryan Taylor with a heavy bodycheck.  Toronto's Steven Hoar then made it 3-2 at 6:38, knocking in a loose puck in front of the Lakehead net during a goalmouth scramble.  Assists went to Ryan Robert and Jesse Rycroft.  Toronto defenseman Ben Barrett made a nice defensive play to break up a Lakehead two-on-one rush by Scherban and Richards.   Blues forward Ian Malcolm made a great individual play but was robbed by Lakehead's McEachran at 12:00.  Toronto's Grinnell made a series of great saves during a Lakehead powerplay near the end of the period.  

        
Toronto's Ryan Taylor opened the third by tying the game at 2:34.  Taylor, parked by the Lakehead goal, converted a beautiful pass from Mike Nason.  Both teams turned up the pace, skating and hitting hard.  Toronto then put on the pressure.  Lakehead's McEachran made a great stop off the Blues' Tristan Senior.  Both teams battled it out in the third, trying desperately to get the game winner.  The Blues goaltender Grinnell was especially sharp in the last five minutes of the period.  Lakehead outshot Toronto 14-8 in the third.


Lakehead stormed the Toronto net in the overtime, but couldn't beat Toronto goaltender Ryan Grinnell.  Lakehead outshot Toronto 4-1 in the overtime period and 48-26 in the game.  

    
Lakehead Head Coach Pete Belliveau said his team is working hard but seemed to have lost their feel around the opponent's goal. "It's not for a lack of trying, the guys are working hard.  We played better tonight, but we're having trouble finishing our plays and putting the puck in the net.  Their best player tonight was their goalie, he played very well." 


Friday's game was the second of a three game weekend road trip for the Thunderwolves.  They finish off the trip tomorrow vs. the Blues at 7:30 EST at the University of Toronto's Varsity Arena.