Whitecourt, AB – The Whitecourt Wolverines (14-4-3) came out on top of a back and forth affair against the Canmore Eagles (9-9-1) on Saturday night to claim their eighth straight win.
The Wolverines opened the scoring just 5:01 into the first period as Ryley Smith picked off cross-ice pass in the Eagle’s zone and buried a beautiful move to his backhand after a give-and-go play with Spencer Bast. Less than four minutes later, the Wolverines increased their lead as Marc-Antoine Benoit fed a speeding Ben Evanish the puck as he got in behind a back-checking forward of the Eagles, and like Smith made a sensational move to his backhand to deposit the puck. The Wolverines nearly extended their lead late in the period as Mackenzie Harden was stoned on a shorthanded breakaway by Eagle’s starting goalie Thomas Davis.
The Eagles had a much stronger period in the second as they dictated the pace of the game and hemmed the Wolverines in their own zone for a large chunk of the frame. They would go on to score three times in the middle stanza, starting with a power play marker from Coy Prevost just prior to the midway point of the period. They would then go on to score twice in the final 1:35 of the second period. Jake Ashton finished a beautiful passing play between himself, Coy Prevost and Alex Young and then it was Trevor Van Steinburg tipping a puck five-hole on Wolverine’s goalie Xavier Potvin to give the Eagles a one-goal lead heading into the third period.
The Wolverines quickly got the game back even as just 2:28 into the third-period local product Spencer Augot sprung Benoit on a breakaway where he would muscle a puck past Davis. The Eagles had a response of their own, just over two minutes later, Prevost re-directed home a point shot from Travis Verveda to restore the one-goal lead for the visitors. With just under five mintutes to play in regulation, the Wolverines were granted a power play after a great effort from Evanish drew a holding penalty against the Eagles. On the power play, Ryley Smith looped around the offensive zone and slipped a backdoor pass to Tyr Thompson whose initial shot was stopped but his follow up shot banked in off a defender to get the game tied with just 3:25 to play. With overtime looming, the Wolverines stopped the game from getting there as captain Ryan Grant lead an end to end rush resulting in a rebound off his wraparound try being knocked in by Jaedon Leslie to give the Wolverines the 5-4 victory.
The Wolverines return to action Saturday night in Sherwood Park as they pay a visit to the Crusaders (7-10-1) at 7 p.m.
Whitecourt Wolverines head coach Gord Thibodeau analyzes the play of his team:
WCT Goal – 5:01 – Ryley Smith(8) from Spencer Bast (EV)
WCT Goal – 8:41 – Ben Evanish(10) from Marc-Antoine Benoit and Stevie Bryant (EV)
CAN Goal – 9:03 – Coy Prevost(10) from Jarell Pinchuk (PP)
CAN Goal – 18:25 – Jake Ashton(9) from Alex Young and Coy Prevost (EV)
CAN Goal – 19:25 – Trevor Van Steinburg(2) from Tian Rask and Quinton Ong (EV)
WCT Goal – 2:28 – Marc-Antoine Benoit(3) from Spencer Augot and Xavier Potvin (EV)
CAN Goal – 4:32 – Coy Prevost(11) from Travis Verveda (EV)
WCT Goal – 16:35 – Tyr Thompson(8) from Ryley Smith (PP)
WCT Goal – 17:45 – Jaedon Leslie(7) from Ryan Grant (EV)
Shots – WCT 39 (16-9-14) CAN 25 (10-8-7)
Power plays – WCT 1/2 CAN 1/4
WCT – Xavier Potvin (11-3-3) 21/25sh
CAN – Thomas Davis (8-8-0) 34sv/39sh
Three Star Selection:
1. WCT-Jaedon Leslie (GWG)
2. CAN-Coy Prevost (2g, 1a)
3. WCT-Marc-Antoine Benoit (1g, 1a)
Hardest Working Wolverine: Ben Evanish (1g)
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