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2013-01-19 at 21:56

Shorthanded success

By Leith Dunick,
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Break up the Lakehead Thunderwolves.

More to the point, break up their penalty kill.

Jake Carrick, Mike MacDonald and Trevor Gamache each scored shorthanded goals Saturday night and the roller-coaster ride that’s been the hockey squad’s season so far hit its highest peak, the 6-3 win over the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks their third in a row.

MacDonald said the game plan was to keep things simple and force turnovers, something they accomplished all night long, leading to plenty of opportunities in the Ridgeback zone.

"We're pretty happy about that and pretty happy about getting the four points," MacDonald said.

"It was just relentless forechecking and just always being on them, working hard, making turovers. We were flying and we were capitalizing on the chances."

It’s the first time the Wolves have managed to string together more than two straight victories, a feat they’d accomplished two other times in 2012-13 prior to this weekend. It was also their first weekend sweep at home all year, their first of any kind in the regular season since opening weekend on the road against Guelph, under former coach Joel Scherban.

"I know any time you get on a roll you want to you really want to keep going on that and you want to make the most of it," said the rookie MacDonald, a Thunder Bay native and graduate of the London Knights.

"You hope it's a turnaround. But again, every game is a different game and it's one game at a time. Hopefully everyone starts buying in and keeps working hard and I'm sure the wins will start coming."

It's the right time of year to finally get on a roll, he added.

"At this time of year is when you want to be winning. What happens at the beginning of the year usually doesn't matter. It's the hottest teams going into the playoffs that do the best."

Interim coach Mike Busniuk probably had the biggest smile going after the contest.

"Our goal this weekend was to win both games. Obviously that's our goal every weekend, but especially agaisnt a team that's down in the standings, below you. So we're very happy."

Still, he'd have liked a little better finish than he got. Brandon Parks scored twice in the final nine seconds, robbing goalie Alex Dupuis of one of the game's three stars in the process.

"We played pretty well and gave up two goals in the last minute, so we're not happy about that. But again, four points is four points. We all see strange things happen in hockey and for me it was well-played the whole game."

Riley McIntosh, who wired a wrist shot past Bryce O'Hagan with 2:33 left in the first, captain Adam Sergerie, with his second in two nights, and Matt Caria also scored for Lakehead (13-7-2), who played in front of half-empty Fort William Gardens crowd, a combination of winter’s biggest blast of the season, a sold-out Nelly Furtado show at the Community Auditorium and the return of NHL hockey.

James Woodcroft opened the scoring for the Ridgebacks, scoring a power play marker at 10:11 of the first.

Claw marks: The Thunderwolves players are hosting a fundraising spaghetti dinner on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Da Vinci Centre. Takeout is available ... Brennan Menard, James DeLory and Jason Grecica were the scratches.

g: 1. UOIT, Woodcroft 5 (unassisted) 10:11 pp. 2. Lakehead, Carrick (Quesnele, Hammond) 17:35 sh. 3. Lakehead, McIntosh 3 (unassisted) 18:33. Penalties: George UOIT (boarding) 0:53, Caria LAK (hooking) 9:45, Anilane LAK (boarding) 11:17, Gamache LAK (high sticking) 15:45.

: 4. Lakehead, Sergerie (Hammond, Caria) 9:22. 5. Lakehead, MacDonald (Sagert, Fillman) 11:22 sh. Penalties: Judson LAK (cross checking), O’Hagen UOIT (unsportsmanlike conduct) 7:51, Stoughton UOIT, Sergerie LAK (unsportsmanlike conduct) 9:22, Gilbert LAK (high sticking) 9:49.

: 6. Lakehead, Gamache (unassisted) 4:33 sh. 7. Lakehead, Caria 7 (De la Lande, Sergerie) 6:27 pp. Carrick LAK (hooking) 2:30. 8. UOIT, Parks (Logan) 19:51. 9. UOIT, Parks (Logan) 19:59.  Penalties: Stoughton UOIT (hooking) 5:06, Gamache LAK (interference) 9:32 Wise UOIT (slashing) 11:01, Rizzi UOIT (slashing), Judson LAK (unsportsmanlike conduct) 18:54.

GAME DATA – SOG – UOIT 8-10-14-32, Lakehead 14-11-6-31; Power plays (goals-chances) – UOIT (1-6), Lakehead (1-3); Goaltenders – UOIT: Bryce O’Hagan, Lakehead: Alex Dupuis; A: 2,197 (announced).

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