Wolves win two games on weekend

Posted: January 21, 2014 in News and notes
The Ripley Wolves inducted the late Mark Burgess (represented by his son Mike, left), John Chatham, Wally Houston and Ken MacDonald onto its Wall of Fame before Saturday night's game. Wolves President and GM Kevin Taylor, right, thanked the recipients for their contributions to the team.

The Ripley Wolves inducted the late Mark Burgess (represented by his son Mike, left), John Chatham, Wally Houston and Ken MacDonald onto its Wall of Fame before Saturday night’s game. Wolves President and GM Kevin Taylor, right, thanked the recipients for their contributions to the team. Photo courtesy http://www.kincardinetimes.com

As an up-and-down regular season is about to come to a close, the Ripley Wolves gave notice to the North Division that they’re just starting to click as a team.

And, with the playoffs starting the first weekend of February, their timing couldn’t be any better.

The Wolves hosted the fifth place Durham ThunderCats on Friday night, with the Wolves trailing them by six points in the standings. Not only did the Wolves have to win this game to keep pace, but also win their last two games and hope Durham lost their final three in regulation, which would give Ripley fifth place.

Although a long-shot to claim a date against fourth-place Shallow Lake in the first round of the playoffs, Ripley did their part on Friday night, winning 5-2. Kurt Edwards played, undoubtedly, his best home game of the season, keeping the ThunderCats at bay with 41 big saves, including a second period barrage that could have turned the game in Durham’s favour but instead left them behind 3-1 after two periods.

With Edwards standing on his head, the Wolves were able to work the puck in the offensive zone, take chances and take the game in convincing fashion. Goals were scored by Corey McCrae (powerplay), Nathan Gavey, Paul Stewart (a shorthanded beauty from Gavey and Edwards), Jeremy McQuillin and Shawn Stewart (shorthanded empty-netter).

Aside from Gavey, who added a second assist, and Edwards, other helpers went to Tim Dwinnell, Mark Stanley, Travis VanGaver (2) and Ryan Armstrong.

On Saturday night, the Wolves inducted four key people in the franchise’s history in its second annual Wall of Fame game. The late Mark Burgess, represented by his son and former Wolf Mike, John Chatham, Wally Houston and Ken MacDonald took their place in Wolves history in a pre-game ceremony before a great crowd. The commitment and contribution to the success these gentlemen have provided the Wolves will always be appreciated.

Ripley got off to a fantastic start in their final home game of the regular season against Shallow Lake, scoring three goals in the first period, including a shorthanded marker by Tyler deVos early in the first (unassisted), followed by a Gavey goal and a Stanley powerplay marker. Assists went to VanGaver, Nick Locking, Brian Stanley and deVos.

Unfortunately, the ice quickly tilted the other way to end the period, as the Crushers pounded three goals in the final three minutes of the first behind Edwards, ending the period squared at threes.

Although the second was not short on entertainment, the score remained deadlocked entering the third, when Ripley took a lead with just under 14 minutes remaining when P. Stewart scored unassisted. From there on out it was all Edwards, frustrating Shallow Lake on his way to making 12 third period saves.

Just when the Wolves looked like they’d hold on to the final buzzer, Shallow Lake scooped up a loose puck and buried it behind Edwards with just nine seconds remaining in regulation, sucking the air out of a building that knew anything short of a win would end the quest for fifth spot in the standings.

Some teams may have hung their head and lamented the close call, but the Wolves instead scored one of their prettiest goals of the year. Rookie Jarred Colling picked the puck up at his own blueline and spied M. Stanley breaking down the left side of the ice towards Shallow Lake’s end. Colling threaded a beautiful pass through some sticks and hit Stanley at full flight. He beat a defenceman, manoeuvred around the goalie and deposited the game winner for a 4-3 final.

The Wolves will end their regular season this weekend in Shelburne before discovering who their first-round opponent will be. Regardless, they’ll start with a road game the first weekend of February, followed by Game 2 at home. Watch http://www.ripleywolves.com, Facebook and Twitter @RipleyWolves for game times.

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