Whitecourt- Wolverines embarked on their second road trip of the season to face-off against Alberta Junior Hockey League’s southern division. This three-game road trip would include Okotoks Oilers, Canmore Eagles and Calgary Mustangs.
Friday nights contest in Okotoks was the third match-up between the two teams. Their first meeting was back at AJHL showcase on September 28th at the Max McLean Arena in Camrose for an afternoon game at 4 pm. Shots in this contest were 33-28 Okotoks with the Whitecourt Wolverines winning with a 4-2 final. The next meeting was November 9th at the Scott Safety Center in Whitecourt with the shots at 38-22 for Okotoks who won the game by a score of 5-2. Whitecourt Wolverines entered Friday’s contest in sixth place in the north having won only two of their last seven games in November. Starting Goaltenders for Friday’s game saw Wolverines #31 Tye Morin in the pipes for his fourth consecutive start for Whitecourt and #29 Nick Sanders on the other end for Okotoks. It is the first meet-up this season when Sanders has taken the net for Okotoks against Whitecourt. Tye Morin was tested early and often in this match-up as Okotoks outshot Whitecourt 43-16. Wolverines were able to keep Okotoks Oiler, Dylan Holloway off of the scoresheet tonight as he continues to be the AJHL league leader with 43 points. Whitecourt Wolverines get on the board early in this contest at 2:44 when the rookie lineup, Bjorn Robinson picks up the puck in their zone from Kurtis Labant and speeds past Okotoks defenders with Carson LaPorte on the two on 1. Robinson passes across to LaPorte, and he finds the back of the net. Okotoks Oilers get on the board to tie up the game at 15:03 on the power play with a goal from Tanner Sawka assist to Carson Dyck and Seth Bernard-Docker. Whitecourt Wolverines get the go-ahead goal late in the 1st at 19:36 Ryan Grant carried the puck up and passes to Bricker in the neutral zone. He did some fancy stick work to get around Oilers defence and moves across to Brayden Labant who quickly found the back of the net. Okotoks Oilers waste no time as they come out in the second period to score at just 0:32 to bring it back to a tie game with Blake Wells credited for the goal from Carson Dyck and Zane Kindrachuk. That would be the lone goal in the second. Oilers come out strong in the 3rd and shots were 11-1 when at 17:46 Jaedon Leslie would get the third goal of the game from Ben Evanish and Ethan Green. Soon after the Oilers would pull Sanders to add the additional skater but Ben Evanish skates down on a pass from Jaedon Leslie and makes no mistake at 18:46 adding the fourth goal on the empty net to wrap the game up with a win.
Saturday night saw the Wolverines travel up to Canmore to face the Eagles for the second meeting of the month. In the last game on November 10th at the Scott Safety Center Wolverines fell 3-1 despite shots being in favour of the Wolverines 41-25. On November 10 Whitecourt’s Ben Rishaug and Canmore’s Logan Dyck were the goaltender match-up. It was a close match with the Wolverines trailing 2-1 from the midway point in the second period. Canmore had added the empty net goal to finish the game at 3-1. November 24 goaltender matchup was Whitecourt's Tye Morin and Logan Dyck from Canmore. Canmore Eagles came into Saturday’s game in third place in the South Division (currently there is a 3-way tie for 3,4,5,6 all at 31 points). Canmore Eagles Powerplay is ranked 2nd in the AJHL at 26.45% coming into the game and 80.13% on the penalty kill. Whitecourt Wolverines would get on the board first at 8:51 on the power play, with his first goal of the season, from Hayden Clayton, assists to Chase Haygarth and Easton Haygarth. Colton Young would follow up with a goal for Canmore at 16:52 from Quinton Ong and Max Giangualano. Colton Young is currently in ninth place in the AJHL for points. The second period saw goals from Canmore Daly Hamilton to open the period at 4:12 giving Canmore their first lead. Wolverines Ben Evanish netted two goals at 5:00 and again at 7:20, Jaedon Leslie then added a powerplay goal at 11:38. Canmore would answer back at 13:53 with a power-play goal of their own by Taden Rattie. At 18:16 Wolverines would add to their lead with a goal from rookie Bjorn Robinson ending the second period with a score of 5-3 for the Wolverines. Canmore Eagles would start the period with another powerplay goal at 2:11 but Harden for the Wolverines would net his own powerplay goal at the halfway mark of the period reinstating the two-goal lead. Wolverines would extend their lead to 7-4 on an empty net goal at 18:29 from Brayden Labant who extends his goal scoring streak to 4 games. Shots for the game would total 36-32 for Canmore. Jaedon Leslie had two assists and one goal in the game, and he would rise to the 17th spot in the AJHL for points leaders.
Sunday the Wolverines travelled to Calgary for an afternoon game against the Mustangs for their second meeting of the season. Calgary Mustangs had not lost in regular time at the Father David Bauer Arena since October. The goaltender match-up for this afternoon game would see Ben Rishaug getting his first start since November 10th and Calgary Mustangs Ben Howard in the net. Whitecourt Wolverines would open the scoring on a power play at 12:50 with a goal by Ryan Grant with assists to Jaedon Leslie and Mackenzie Harden. During the weekend Wolverines increased their away powerplay percentage to third in the AJHL at 25.49% and their penalty kill to 89.29%. Calgary Mustangs would get on the board fast in the second at 55 seconds with a goal from Chase Millar. At 2:22 Carson LaPorte would get a penalty for holding and Wolverines would go to the penalty kill. At 3:34 Bjorn Robinson would score his first ever short-handed goal breaking out and getting past both defence for this goal to move Whitecourt into the lead again. In the 3rd period Wolverines held onto the lead until 17:59 when Daniel Rybarik found his way past Rishaug to tie this one up and force overtime. Nothing was answered in five minutes of overtime, so this one was going to a shootout to be decided. Rishaug shut the door for all three shooters from Calgary and Whitecourt Wolverines third shooter Mackenzie Harden finds the five-hole goal on Howard to get the 2 points. Calgary would continue their streak at the Father Bauer Arena of not losing in regular time at home.
Whitecourt Wolverines come home with all six points from the road trip. The AJHL north division continues to be a close race in points.