Adam Sergerie says he’s had a tough time generating scoring chances.
Victor Anilane could barely find his way into the lineup for most of the first half of the OUA hockey season.
Both were front and centre on Friday night, making the most of the opportunities presented to them.
Sergerie went high short-side on Bryce O’Hagen with 4:58 to play in regulation for the winning goal, capping a 3-2 third-period comeback to hand the Wolves a 3-2 triumph over the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks, their second win in as many outings.
Anilane, a one-time Swedish junior team hopeful who’s been biding his time on the Fort William Gardens sidelines had tied the game some nine minutes earlier, making a nifty move in deep and firing it past O’Hagen for his first of the season.
The goal, his first since Nov. 25, 2011, was a long time coming and Anilane was glad to finally get the monkey off his back.
“It was a big relief, I guess, a really big relief. You could probably see that in my celebration. I just got real, real happy and thought finally it went in,” the fourth-year forward said.
Not one to complain, he said he worked hard in practice and waited for opportunity to arrive. He made the most of it when it did.
“After Christmas I just bounced back and just haven’t really been thinking too much. I’ve just been going out there trying to have as much fun as possible. I played tonight with (Ryan) Magill and (Andrew) Wilkins. Both guys were back in the lineup and it was a great time.”
Lakehead interim coach Mike Busniuk, who won two in a row for just the third time in regular season play, said there was never a doubt Anilane had the talent to be a success in the OUA.
He just got caught in a numbers game.
“He’s a good player and you’re right. The more ice time he gets, the higher he’s crawling up the ladder and he’ll get a lot of ice time,” Busniuk said.
Sergerie, the LU captain, doesn’t have to worry about seeing his name in the lineup. But with just five goals in 19 games heading into Friday’s contest.
“Lately I haven’t had a whole lot of opportunity to shoot the puck. With an opportunity like that you’re not really going to pass it up a lot,” said Sergerie, in his final year with the Thunderwolves.
“As a team I think we can do better getting shots on net and bodies to the net, that’s for sure.”
Opportunity-wise, the Wolves got the better of the Ridgebacks, despite being out-shot 33-28. Mike Quesnele hit the crossbar on the power play early in the second, not long after Wilkins lifted the puck high over an open net.
Later in the period Trevor Gamache stole the puck and raced in on O’Hagen, only to find the other crossbar.
Mitch Fillman gave LU the early lead just 94 seconds into the game, wiring a wrist shot from the top circle area, a lead they took into period No. 2.
James Diminie tied it with UOIT shorthanded in the opening minute of the second, taking a slick feed from Kevin George and depositing it past Lakehead’s Alex Dupuis.
Bobcaygeon, Ont.’s Jesse Stoughton pushed the Ridgebacks in front 56 seconds into a penalty-free third, the shorthanded goal his 14th of the season.
Lakehead and UOIT will do it again on Saturday night at the Gardens.
Claw marks: Ridgebacks assistant coach Rob Whistle, a former NHLer, is a native of Thunder Bay … On the sidelines were Luke Maw, Jason Grecica, James DeLory and Brennan Menard.
Scoring: 1. Lakehead, Fillman (Judson, Sagert) 1:34. Penalties: McIntosh LAK (interference) 2:06, MacDonald LAK, Kennedy UOIT (unsportsmanlike conduct) 16:52.
Scoring: 2. UOIT, Diminie 5 (George, VanMoerkerke) 16:50. Penalties: Spade UOIT (hooking) 5:31, Crnogorac UOIT (hooking) 19:18.
Scoring: 3. UOIT, Stoughton 14 (Purves, O’Hagen) 0:56 sh. 4. Lakehead, Anilane 1 (Wilkins, Magill) 6:27. 5. Lakehead, Sergerie (McIntosh, Gilbert) 15:02. Penalties: None.
GAME DATA – SOG – UOIT 10-11-12-33, Lakehead 7-10-11-28; Power plays (goals-chances) – UOIT (0-0), Lakehead (0-3); Goaltenders – Ontario Tech: Bryce O’Hagan, Lakehad: Alex Dupuis; A: 2,844.
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