Whitecourt, AB – The Wolverines (2-7-0) opened up a string of four straight home games on Saturday night welcoming the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (7-4-0) to town.
The Wolverines, who came into the contest in the midst of a four game losing streak, got off to a strong start with newly acquired forward Romano Morrison picking up his first goal in a Wolverine uniform less than six minutes into the opening frame.
The goal resulted in the ice being showered with nearly 100 bras from the fans as the Wolverines were hosting “Bras Across The Bridge Night” to kickoff breast cancer awareness month. For every bra collected an Edmonton radio station donated $1 to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, as well the bras will be strung across the high level bridge in Edmonton and upon being taken down, donated to “Africa We Care” and other local charities.
The game remained 1-0 in favor of the Wolverines until the late stages of the period. With goaltender Tallon Kramer out with injury, the team was forced to bring in North Peace Navigators (NWJHL) goalie, Brady Jewan, as an emergency backup. He would be thrust into duty after starting goalie Simon Lemieux was ejected from the game in first period for a slashing major on Oil Baron forward Shawn Weber. Battling some early nerves, Jewan allowed three goals on the first four shots he faced, giving the Oil Barons a 3-1 lead through 20 minutes.
The 19-year-old Junior “B” goalie would settle down the rest of the way allowing the Wolverines to mount a comeback. The Wolverines got goals from Jordan Davies and Justin Young, his first career AJHL goal, less than two minutes apart to draw the game level. Another newcomer, Ryan McKinnon, would give the Wolverines the lead before the period was out tipping home a Jared Freadrich point shot. The goal was also McKinnon’s first of his AJHL career.
Danton Ayotte would knot the game up for the Oil Barons 4:55 into the third period on a terrific individual effort. The game remained tied until a nice give and go play between John Mullally and Evan Warmington resulted in Mullally picking up his second game-winning goal of the year with just 4:42 remaining in the final stanza. Wolverines win 5-4.
Brady Jewan kicked aside 24 of 28 shots in relief to pickup his first career AJHL win, on the other side, Jayden Sittler, stopped 26 of 31 shots in the loss. The Wolverines went 1 for 2 on the man advantage, while the Oil Barons went an astounding 3 for 2 on the powerplay after scoring three times on the five minute major assessed to Lemieux.
The Wolverines (3-7-0) returned to action on Tuesday night, playing host to the Grande Prairie Storm (3-8-0).
With goaltender Simon Lemieux serving the first of a two game suspension and Tallon Kramer still out nursing a lower-body injury, the Wolverines recalled goaltender Joshua Dechaine from the St. Albert Raiders midget AAA hockey club to start in goal, with Brady Jewan once again playing the role of emergency backup.
The Wolverines and Storm played a back and forth first period before defensemen Gordie Ballhorn would snap the 0-0 deadlock late in the opening frame, taking a feed from Wolverines captain Evan Warmington in the high slot and making no mistake beating Storm goaltender Adam Beukeboom. The Wolverines lead 1-0 through 20 minutes.
The Wolverines increased their lead to two after Trace Elson fired in his third goal in his past four games 4:37 into the second period. The Wolverines would once again add to their lead on Morgan Messenger’s fourth goal of the season before the period was 10 minutes old.
Leading 3-0 heading to the third period, the Wolverines were in control of the game. After a pair of quick goals from the Storm to start the period, the Wolverines were on their heels chasing the puck for much of the final frame. Former Whitecourt resident Parker Wakaruk would tie the game with a seeing-eye shot from the half wall, fooling goaltender Dechaine at the 8:44 mark.
This game headed to overtime, the first time for either teams this season. The Wolverines were given a late powerplay in the third period and had just over 30 seconds left to work on it to start the bonus period. However, it would be the Storm capitalizing shorthanded. Right off the opening faceoff, Storm forward Tristan Crozier, bulrushed his way in on a breakaway and made no mistake going top shelf for his second goal of the night to earn his team the 4-3 decision.
The Wolverines were 0 for 4 on the powerplay, while the Storm went 1 for 4. Joshua Dechaine made 32 saves in a losing effort while Adam Beukeboom turned aside 24 of the 27 shots he faced for his first win on the campaign.
The Wolverines (3-7-1) are back in action on Saturday night when they welcome the Calgary Canucks (5-6-0) to town, puck drop at 7:30pm.