The Hazelton Wolverines hosted the Kitimat Ice Demons on Saturday and the Prince Rupert Rampage on Sunday and while they went 0-2, fans, players and coaches felt it was solid hockey and both games could have gone either way.
On Saturday, the Wolverines took an early lead putting the first point on the board. By the end of the first Hazelton was leading 3-2. The second period brought two points from Kitimat to head into the final period with the Wolves trailing 4-3. As the final period got under way penalties started to fly on both sides with Hazelton picking up the majority and Kitimat was able to capitalize picking up two more points to take the 6-3 victory.
Head Coach, Ray Sturney, said despite the lack of points put up by his team, he felt they played a solid game.
“We did everything but score,” he said. “The team played pretty hard and I am very pleased with the way they played. All you can ask the guys to do is work really hard and they did and they really wanted to work really hard and win as much as I did. We just couldn’t put it in the net. They engineered the chances so it was really sad for them that they just couldn’t pull it off.”
One of the factors in the solid game and effort from Hazelton was the addition of a few new players, Sturney said.
“The two kids we picked up are really good and really helped,” he said. “It was such a solid team effort and I thought both games were ones we could of won if we just got the puck in the net.”
Sunday’s game the Wolverines were once again first to get on the board but Rupert followed shortly after to finish the first tied 1-1. The second period Rupert pulled ahead with three goals to Hazelton’s one to finish the second down 4-2. The third period was still end to end action with lots of big hits and only a few penalties and with less than four minutes left Hazelton scored to close the gap to one. With less than a minute left, the Wolverines pulled their goalie hoping to tie it up but Rupert cashed in on the empty net to finish the game with the 5-3 win.
For Sturney, his team played well as a whole and there were a lot of players that put up great games on both days he said.
“Once again solid goaltending and Lane Perry played really well all weekend,” he said. “Cody Sutherland played well and Chris played very well too. Landon Vipond, Jody Giguere and Al Tolmie always plays hard as well as the two Lewis boys, Russel and Chad who always work really hard for us. Matt Wolfenden had some really good shifts too.”
As for the refereeing this weekend, Sturney said despite a few questionable calls on Saturday it was better than they have had in the past.
“The refs like to air on the side of caution and they are right to do that especially with the hits from behind,” he said. “It takes almost nothing to get paralized when you hit from behind. I also though Chris ref’d a good game on Sunday.”
This weekend the Wolverines head away to play Kitimat Saturday night and Rupert on Sunday but Sturney said he is already worried that they will most likely be short handed.