Drayton Valley, AB – The Whitecourt Wolverines (3-10-2) were in Drayton Valley to take on the Thunder (6-5-1) Friday night.
The game was the third of a four game road swing for the Wolverines and following losses to the Lloydminster Bobcats (4-1) and Bonnyville Pontiacs (2-1) to kick off the trip, the Wolverines were mired in a 5 game losing streak.
In need of an early spark, the Wolverines would get one from a rookie forward. Following a Nathan Bizeau point shot, Trace Elson would grab the rebound and patiently out wait Thunder goalie Garret Mason and find a wide open Bryson Traptow for an easy tap in. The first career AJHL goal for Traptow gave the Wolverines a 1-0 lead 2:16 into the contest.
Jason Miller would tie the game a few minutes later, but Taden Rattie would tip home his 4th goal of year on the powerplay in the closing minute of the opening frame to give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.
The Wolverines got off to a slow start in the second period and an even strength goal by Brayden Harris and a 5 on 3 powerplay goal by Jamie Waddington gave the Thunder a 3-2 lead. John Mullally was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking late in the period, however it would be the Wolverines taking advantage. Following a spectacular save from Tanner McCorriston, Joel Kocur would break in alone on Marc-Olivier Daigle (who replaced Garret Mason to start the second period) and beat the Thunder goalie between the legs for his 5th on the year tying the game heading to the second intermission. The goal was the Wolverines 2nd short-handed goal of the season.
The Wolverines carried the play for much of the third period and with 5:37 left in the game John Mullally would take advantage of a Thunder turnover in front of their net snapping a wrist shot over the glove of Daigle for his 8th goal of the year. The goal would hold up as the winner, giving Mullally his 3rd game-winning goal of the season. Final score, 4-3 Wolverines.
Tanner McCorriston made 39 saves for his first win as a member of the Wolverines; meanwhile Marc-Olivier Daigle stopped 20 of 22 shots in relief, taking the loss. Wolverines went 1 for 5 on the powerplay while the Thunder were 1 for 7.
The win was the Wolverines first road win of the season.
“It’s such a big win for this group, just to see everyone relieved,” said Wolverines head coach Joey Bouchard on his team ending it’s run of futility. “We’re definitely excited here.”
“Our rookies have been pushing hard and pushing the veterans to be better,” continues Bouchard, talking about the play of his young core. “I think the turning point tonight though was Tanner McCorriston’s save when we were down by one killing a penalty, which lead to Joel Kocur’s goal to tie things up.”
The Wolverines (4-10-2) are back in action on Wednesday night when they head up the road to take on the Grande Prairie Storm (6-12-0) to close out their four game road trip. The game is also the first half of a home and home between the two teams, with the return match coming on Friday night at the Scott Safety Centre.