Skip to content

T-Wolves miss chance to clinch playoff berth

Lakehead opened an early 2-0 lead over Laurier, but the Golden Hawks stormed back with five unanswered tallies to win 5-2.
Lakehead's Geoff Dempster (left) tries to change directions to catch Laurier's Sullivan Sparkes on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 at Fort William Gardens. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The playoff clinch will have to wait for another day.

The Lakehead Thunderwolves had a chance to sew up their first postseason berth since 2021 on Saturday night, but couldn’t hold onto an early 2-0 lead and fell 5-2 to the Laurier Golden Hawks in front of 2,373 fans at Fort William Gardens.

Laurier forward Matthew Zedebee, who had a goal and two helpers on the night, completed the comeback midway through the third, making a nifty move on a Thunderwolves defender before slamming it past goaltender Max Wright.

Lakehead would have clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win.

It was a disappointing result, said T-Wolves captain Tyler Jette, the team failing to pick up at least a point for the first time in nine games.

“I think in this league, anybody can beat anybody. You’ve got to play a full 60 minutes if you want to win games. You can’t play 20 minutes and coast from there and I thought that’s what we did,” Jette said. “They moved their feet faster than we did in the last 40 and that’s what caught us.”

The big momentum shift came early in the second, when Keighan Gerrie, stationed behind the Laurier net, fed a pass to Stephen Fox, who buried behind Golden Hawks goaltender Christian Propp. Unfortunately for the home side, Propp’s mask came off during the scramble in front, wiping out the goal.

That made a big difference, said Thunderwolves blue-liner Noah Massie.

“Yeah, I think it did. You’re exactly right. I thought that was a goal. I didn’t see the helmet come off, but we’ve got to be better at taking it back when we lose it and it’s something we’ll work on this week.”

With the T-Wolves trailing 3-2 in the third, Massie had what was probably the best chance to even the score, but Propp managed to slide his skate toe just far enough to prevent Massie from stuffing in around the goal post.

“He just got it with his skate. I was just trying to get one back because I think I owed the boys, but I didn’t get it done,” said Massie, who blamed himself for Zedebee’s third-period go-ahead goal.

Once again it looked like the Thunderwolves might be on their way to another rout, when Greg Smith and Olivier Pouliot connected 3:37 apart in the opening period, a night after a seven-goal outburst in the first put the Guelph Gryphons away early.

But the third goal never came.

Grayden Gottschalk cut the Laurier deficit to one at the 14:15 mark of the middle stanza. Less than four minutes later Tyler Davis knotted the score, taking a pass off the draw and wiring it through traffic behind a partially screened Wright.

Still down a goal, with under three minutes to play, Lakehead was handed a four-minute power play, but instead of capitalizing, they gave up a second shorthanded goal, Sam Rhodes taking the puck own the left wing and putting a shot on net that Wright couldn’t handle. Rhodes added a second short-hander marker into the empty net.

Laurier has won all three meetings between the two teams this season.

"Give them credit," said Lakehead coach Andrew Wilkins. 'They're good and they've played us really well. I thought they got better today as the game went on."

Lakehead (14-6-3) hosts Western next Saturday. They remain tied with Windsor atop the OUA West, but the Lancers hold a game in hand. They’re a point ahead of Toronto Metropolitan in the race for the second seed and a first-round bye, the Bold holding a single game in hand.

: 1. Lakehead, Smith 4 (Auger, Jette) 8:40 pp. 2. Lakehead, Pouliot 3 (Ho, Mack) 12:17. Penalties: Payette LAU (interference) 1:17, Rich LAU (tripping) 7:57, Rich LAU (tripping) 7:57, Davis, LAU (cross checking) 15:17, Mack LAK (tripping) 19:32.

: 3. Laurier, Gottschalk (Zedebee) 14:15.  4. Laurier, Davis (McJannet, Zedebee) 17:51. Penalties: Brown LAU,  N.Massie LAK (roughing) 14:44, Thomson GUE (interference) 19:13.

: 5. Laurier, Zedebee (Davis, Payette) 9:22. 6. Lakehead, Rhodes 7 (unassisted) 17:57 sh. 7. Laurier, Rhodes 8 (Herrfort) 19:31 sh en.  Penalties: Sparkes LAU (spearing double minor) 17:07

GAME DATASOG – Laurier 4-14-12-30, Lakehead 12-9-10-31; Power plays (goals-chances) – Laurier (0-1), Lakehead (1-6); Goaltenders – Laurier: Christian Propp, Lakehead: Max Wright; A: 2,373.



Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks