Wolves down Durham 5-3 in home opener

Posted: October 14, 2018 in News and notes

A huge crowd went home happy as the Wolves won their home opener 5-3 over the Durham Thundercats. The game was sponsored by West Shore Stone and Brick.

The 2-0 Wolves jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first on goals from new first-line centre Ben Hughes, his first as a Wolf. That was quickly followed by goals from Drew Davidson and hometown boy Garrett Meurs, who scored his first goal on Ripley ice since he was a Novice hockey player and on the road to the OHL, the NHL Draft, and a professional career in the American and East Coast Hockey Leagues.

Suffice it to say, many of the fans packing the Ripley stands have been waiting to see Meursy in the flesh, and he didn’t disappoint, finishing with two goals, his second coming on the powerplay in the second.

Kurt Edwards got the start for the Wolves and stopped 10 shots in the first to help the Wolves to a comfortable lead heading into the first intermission. Durham got one back in the second but still trailed 4-1 after two, with Ripley holding a significant edge in play thanks to strong penalty killing and solid defensive coverage when Durham did form an attack.

The Cats had more pounce in the third though and brought it to within two with 15 minutes to play, before Davidson scored his second of the game with 10 left in the period. The three-goal cushion was short-lived though as Durham turned up the heat on the Wolves and scored on the powerplay with 7:35 left on the clock and momentum shifted their way.

That’s when their goalie, Gatlin Burt, turned from a talented netminder to loose cannon, as he has done in various leagues, and on various teams, for years. After Meurs cut through his crease, but didn’t make contact with him, the Wolves forward started his backcheck flanked by a Durham defender. No words or sticks were being exchanged.

Suddenly, Burt pulled his goalie stick back and chopped Meurs hard in the leg. The Wolves home captain, dropped, turned, looked and smiled incredulously at Burt from one knee. The goalie faked another move at Meurs, but for once held himself in check.

With 4:54 left in a two-goal game, and the ice tilting toward Ripley’s end, Burt was given a five-minute penalty for slashing, and a game misconduct. Hopefully the league looks at suspension – or expulsion – for this repeat (and repeat, and repeat) offender.

The Wolves peppered Durham’s back-up, who made some fine saves, but the wind was out of Durham’s sails, and the final ended 5-3 for Ripley. The Wolves outshot Durham 46-30 in the win.

Ripley will host Mapleton-Minto on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. It’s Meet the Wolves Night, where kids can visit with the players in the dressing room between periods. The game is sponsored by Kempton Construction.

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