THUNDER BAY – Thirteen seconds into their rematch with the visiting Waterloo Warriors, the Lakehead Thunderwolves were already in trouble.
That’s how long it took Nick Halagian to deflect teammate Andrew Cardssen-David’s cross-crease pass behind LU goaltender Nic Renyard.
The Warriors held the lead the rest of the way, hanging on to edge the Thunderwolves 5-3 in front of 2,008 fans at Fort William Gardens.
It wasn’t the start the Wolves were looking for, said forward Josh Laframboise, who scored for the third straight contest, but was disappointed Lakehead (9-8-1) was unable to complete the weekend sweep and give themselves some breathing room in a tightly packed OUA West.
“You don’t want to start a game like that, 13 seconds in you’re already down 1-0. It’s obviously not the start we envisioned. At the end of the day we know we’ve got to play a full 60 in this league. If you take even shift off, look what happens, they score 13 seconds in … We’ve got to be ready to go from the moment the puck drops and be ready to play a full 60,” Laframboise said.
Caleb Boman, who leads all Wolves blue-liners with six goals – second to Daniel Del Paggio for the team lead – said the Warriors caught them off guard, coming off Friday’s 5-2 triumph.
“They came out flying,” said Boman, who ripped a shot from the point that fooled rookie Waterloo goaltender Julian Sime, cutting the Warriors to 2-1 on the power play with five minutes to go in the second.
“They obviously took that loss last night to heart and they showed it. They came out quick and they buried it on the first opportunity.”
Thunderwolves coach Andrew Wilkins said there was just too much inconsistency on his team’s part, despite the fact they battled back from a 4-1 deficit, the Warriors breaking open a 2-1 contest with a pair of goals in the first 4:34 of the third.
“We had some really good periods, but you can’t win in this league playing like that, especially against a team like Waterloo that plays hard all the time,” Wilkins said. “So yeah, it was disappointing.”
That early goal was deflating.
“It was not the start we wanted. They seemed to execute a play and a game plan right off the bat. Our whole first period wasn’t good enough,” the rookie coach said.
Despite the early hole and a slow start to the third, the Thunderwolves managed to make a game of it in the end.
Laframboise made it 4-2 at the 8:19 mark of the final stanza, the goal coming six seconds after the Warriors killed off an LU power play.
Jospeh Leonidas made it a one-0oal game with 4:51 to go in regulation, a carbon copy of Boman’s second-period tally, once again the goal coming six seconds after an LU power play ended.
Del Paggio had a shot to tie the game late in the third, but couldn’t connect and fire it into the open net.
Michael Morgan sealed the win for Waterloo, lifting the puck into the empty net with four seconds left.
Getting the two points was huge, said Warriors coach Brian Bourque, his team taking over sole possession of eighth place – and the final playoff spot – in the OUA West.
“Every night, you better be on, or you’re not winning,” he said. “Obviously we wanted to win both, but to leave with the split up here after being off a month … we’re happy.”
The T-Wolves head to Windsor next weekend for a pair against the Lancers.
Scoring: 1. Waterloo, Halagian 2 (Cordssen-David) 0:13. 2. Waterloo, Elliott 1 (Coulter, Siddall) 11:34. Penalties: Morgan WAT (roughing), Dubchak LAK (holding the puck) 4:30, McDonald LAK (tripping) 17:44.
Scoring: 3. Lakehead, Boman 6 (Stewart, Del Paggio) 14:52 pp. Penalties: Morgan WAT (interference) 3:35, Murphy LAK (cross checking) 7:24, Coulter WAT (slashing) 14:38, Radke WAT (high sticking) 14:45.
Scoring: 4. Waterloo, Murphy (Moffat) 1:57. 5. Waterloo, Scanlan 4 (unassisted) 4:34 pp. 6. Lakehead, Laframboise 5 (Kuczek, King) 8:19. 7. Lakehead, Leonidas 2 (Del Paggio) 15:09. 8. Waterloo, Morgan (unassisted) 19:56 en. Penalties: Dubchak LAK (hooking) 3:46, Lovie WAT (tripping) 5:26, Cordssen-David (high sticking) 6:13, Stewart LAK (interference) 9:06, Coke WAT (elbowing) 13:03.
GAME DATA – SOG – Waterloo 20-10-7-37, Lakehead 12-19-17-48; Power plays (goals-chances) – Waterloo (1-4), Lakehead (1-6); Goaltenders – Waterloo: Julian Sime, Lakehead: Nick Renyard; A: 2,008.