Spruce Grove, AB – The Wolverines (2-4-0) opened up their weekend at the 8th annual AJHL showcase vs the Camrose Kodiaks (5-1-0) on Thursday night. The game was scheduled to start at 8pm, but due to a citywide power outage, the game was delayed until 930pm.
The Wolverines gave up the first goal of the game on the powerplay after the rebound off a tipped point shot landed on the stick of Spencer Kryczka who made no mistake beating a fallen Tallon Kramer.
The Wolverines would answer in the late stages of the period, with just two minutes left on the clock, Joel Kocur buried his own rebound after Brandon Switzer found him open in the slot.
The second period, and rest of the game for that matter, would belong to the Kodiaks. They outshot the Wolverines 20-4 in the middle frame and outscoring them 3-0. Braeden Salverda got the scoring started and Ryker Leer followed up with a pair of goals, one shorthanded and the other on a penalty shot (the third penalty shot against the Wolverines this year).
Nelson Gadoury and Brandon Switzer traded goals in the final period as the Kodiaks picked up the 5-2 win.
Wolverines goalie Tallon Kramer was tremendous stopping 31 of 35 shots through the first 40 minutes before giving way to Simon Lemieux in the third. Patrick Gora picked up his second win on the year and first as a Kodiak, stopping 21 of 23 shots, Gora’s first win came against the Wolverines when he was a member of the Spruce Grove Saints.
Wolverines were 0 for 5 on the powerplay, while the Kodiaks went 2 for 10.
“We ran into penalty trouble in the first and it killed any momentum we had in the first, we have to be more disciplined,” said head coach Joey Bouchard after the game. “We weren’t good enough, not the effort we were looking for.”
Spruce Grove, AB – The Wolverines (2-5-0) returned to the AJHL showcase on Saturday night for date with the Drayton Valley Thunder (2-3-1).
The Wolverines and Thunder traded opening period goals, Ty Bettac got the Thunder on the board first, but Brandon Switzer got the equalizer less than two minutes later.
Less than five minutes into the middle period, the Thunder would retake the lead on a goal from Joseph Tambasco, however much like in the first period the Wolverines would answer a short time later. This time, it was Trace Elson scoring his first goal of the year on the powerplay. The Thunder would retake the lead one final time in the second period after Trevor Poirier finished off a pass from Jason Miller, the Thunder would not relinquish the lead this time holding on for the 3-2 win.
After Elson’s second period goal, the Thunder elected to lift starting goalie Marc Olivier Daigle for Garrett Mason, Daigle stopped 20 of 22 shots, while Mason kicked aside all 13 shots he faced. Simon Lemiuex took the loss for the Wolverines stopping 18 of 21 shots.
The Wolverines went 1 for 6 on the powerplay and the penalty kill was perfect going 5 for 5.
“I think our guys went to war tonight and played hard,” emphasized coach Bouchard following the game. “Sooner or later you have to recognize when your guys are working, we dominated for pretty much 55 minutes of that game.”
“It’s adversity we’re going through, but we are learning through this process, learning what it takes to win hockey games, it will make us stronger down the road,” noted coach Bouchard on the recent string of strong efforts from his club without seeing any results.
Headline: Wolverines Drop First Game Post-Showcase
Sherwood Park, AB – The Wolverines (2-6-0) didn’t have much time in-between games following the showcase. Following their 8pm start on Saturday night vs the Thunder, the Wolverines were back in action Sunday afternoon vs the Sherwood Park Crusaders (4-3-1) at the Sherwood Park Arena.
The Crusaders got off to quick start scoring three times in the first seven minutes with a pair of those goals coming from Daniel Wray and another from Reid Bosse. The Wolverines would get one back with Trace Elson scoring his second powerplay goal in as many games. The Crusaders would answer a short time later with Arthur Gordon beating Tallon Kramer, who replaced starting goalie Simon Lemieux after he allowed three goals on the first four shots he faced. Before the period was out the Wolverines would once again draw the deficit to two when Brandon Switzer buried a rebound for his third goal in three games.
After the wild first period, things settled down in the second with only one goal to report and it was Ryan Kruper getting his fifth of the season, and fifth in his last five games giving the Crusaders a 5-2 lead heading to the third.
Joe Kocur scored 1:32 into the final stanza tipping home a point shot from Jordan Davies, and just before the halfway point of the period Gordie Ballhorn hammered a shot past Tommy Nixon to bring the Wolverines within a goal. That would be as close as they would get though, falling 5-4.
Tallon Kramer stopped 25 of 27 shots he faced in relief taking the loss, while Tommy Nixon made 22 saves recording his fifth straight win between the pipes.
The Wolverines killed off all five shorthanded situations they faced while adding two powerplay markers on five chances with the man advantage. The Wolverines have only given up two powerplay goals in their last 20 penalty kills.
Brandon Switzer added two assists to go along with his first period goal and now shares the AJHL lead in points with 12, he is currently riding a three game goal and point scoring streak. Jetland Houcher of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Jarid Hauptman of the Spruce Grove Saints also sit with 12 points.
“He’s a special player, character player, he’s really demonstrating a lot of leadership,” Wolverines Head Coach Joey Bouchard assessing the play of Switzer. “Guys are following him, he’s got a great attitude.”
“We need the saves, we need the timely saves, this leagues too good and you can’t win without them,” said Bouchard describing why his team was unsuccessful.
“Our guys showed character and didn’t let up, they worked hard, we have a good core of guys who are determined,” Bouchard said of his teams comeback bid. “A lot of teams would have folded but we didn’t fold today, hard work will be rewarded, right now we aren’t being rewarded but we will be.”