Lakehead Thunderwolves Mens Hockey
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12/28/2013: LAURENTIAN - 2 @ LAKEHEAD - 6


Leith Dunick,
Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Lakehead Thunderwolves said goodbye to the soft part of their schedule with an easy win over the visiting Laurentian Voyageurs in front of 2118 fans at the Fort William Gardens on a snowy Saturday night in Thunder Bay.

The true test begins next Friday at the Gardens for the first-place Wolves, who rode one-goal, two-assist performances from forwards Jake Carrick and Mike Hammond to the 6-2 non-conference victory.

Cody Alcock added a goal and an assist, while defenceman Mitch Fillman had a pair of helpers in a game that saw the Wolves out-shoot their opponent 43-16, including a 15-0 count in the second.

It marked the first time in Thunderwolves hockey history that they held a team without a shot in a period.

The first-year Voyageurs, with just four wins in 15 OUA contests were a Christmas week tune-up for the rocky road ahead, a seven-week stretch that will see Lakehead face just one opponent with a sub-.500 record at the break.

The first-half slate delivered a group of opponents that combined to go 33-62-9, with just two of those teams at .500 or better. In contrast, the Wolves will face a combined record of 63-39-7 in the second-half of the season, starting with the second-place Toronto Varsity Blues (9-5-2), who invade Fort William Gardens this Friday and Saturday night.

It was important to get the ball rolling and shake off the holiday rust, said Alcock, second among OUA rookies with 10 goals.

“I’m sure everyone ate a lot of turkey. That’s our first games back. It was kind of hard getting into the swing of things, but it’s a good test for us. We played them before and we knew what they were capable of. They’re a hardworking team, so it was good for us to work on our power play when we had one, and our penalty kill and just everybody involved. It was a good couple of games coming back,” Alcock said.

The ex-OHLer said the players are trying not to put too much stock in the calibre of opponent they’ll face in the second half.

“We’ve played some good teams. We’re going to be playing some good teams coming up too. I know a lot of the guys in the room and even the coaches, we don’t really care about the records. We’re just going to go into every game and we’re just going to play our best,” Alcock said.

Coach Bill McDonald said everyone on the team knows the second half won’t be a cake walk.

“It’s definitely going to be tough,” he said, adding from what he’s seen he thinks the Thunderwolves can hang with Toronto.

Beyond that, he’s not too concerned.

“I’ve watched different teams play other teams. For sure we’re going to be in a lot tougher than we were in the first half, but hopefully the state of mind we’re in and what we’ve learned I think we can run with some of these teams,” McDonald said.

Carrick started running in a hurry in this one, potting the game’s first goal just 29 seconds after the opening faceoff. Keith Grondin doubled the lead at 7:41 of the first, though Jordan Carroll cut it to one just 21 seconds later.

Alcock’s goal, an unassisted shorthanded tally at 17:20, restored the two-goal lead before the period ended.

Hammond made it 4-1 on the power play 3:39 into the second and then four minutes later Luke Maw’s shot from the point deflected off a Laurentian defender and over the shoulder of Voyageurs goalie Alain Valiquette.

After more than 24 minutes without as much as a shot, Cameron Genge shovelled the puck past Lakehead’s Justin McDonald early in the third to make it 5-2, but Kelin Ainsworth responded five minutes later with the Wolves second power play goal of the night to wrap up the scoring.

It wasn’t perfect, but exposing weaknesses in non-conference play should help them disappear in the regular season. At least that’s what Bill McDonald hopes.

“Hockey is a game of mistakes. If you really look at the stats, we don’t give up many. I guess everyone thought we would score. We scored some, but we haven’t changed our system and we’re going to stay with it. But the mistakes we make in the second half are going to be way more magnified.”


1. 00:29 Lakehead, Jake Carrick (Mike Hammond, Mitch Fillman) 2. 07:41 Lakehead, Keith Grondin (Cody Alcock) 3. 08:02 Laurentian, Carroll (Davis , Gliebe ) 4. 17:20 Lakehead, Cody Alcock (unassisted) SH
Penalties: 06:09 Laurentian, Therrien (SL)07:19 Lakehead, Andrew Wilkins (BRD)14:34 Laurentian, Fitze (BRD)16:18 Lakehead, Jake Carrick (SPR(4min))17:47 Laurentian, Eddy (HKG)
5. 03:39 Lakehead, Mike Hammond (Mitch Fillman, Jake Carrick) PP 6. 07:53 Lakehead, Luke Maw (Ryan Magill, Matt Kaarela)
Penalties: 03:33 Laurentian, Eddy (TR)04:25 Laurentian, Fitze (BRD)08:45 Laurentian, Leroux (SL(4min))
7. 04:16 Laurentian, Genge (Howes ) PP 8. 09:23 Lakehead, Kelin Ainsworth (Jake Carrick, Mike Hammond) PP
Penalties: 00:02 Laurentian, Fitze (SL)00:02 Lakehead, Kelin Ainsworth (SL)04:40 Lakehead, Mike Hammond (SL)08:02 Laurentian, Leroux (RO/10 Min Misc)08:25 Laurentian, Eddy (SL)12:07 Lakehead, Carson Dubchak (SPR(4 min))13:09 Lakehead, Mike Quesnele (INT)19:01 Laurentian, Senecal (TR)19:09 Lakehead, Adam Restoule (BRD)
Lakehead: Justin McDonald, 14 saves made, 2 goals against.Laurentian: A.Valiquette, 12 saves made, 5 goals against.Laurentian: C.Millen, 25 saves made, 1 goals against.Referees: A.Simpson N.Black (referee), K.Kuluski, A.Messaro,