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Wolves weekly media notes - January 20th, 2023
2023-01-20
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As part of my role as team statistician for the Sudbury Wolves, my job description includes the preparation of weekly media notes, featuring various tidbits of information regarding upcoming games.

While these notes have generally been confined to circulating among media types and club officials, it seemed likely that fans of the local OHL team might also have an interest in the odds and ends that I might come across on a weekly basis.

OVERCOMING THE SUDBURY WOLVES MASH UNIT
Truth be told, I would likely be better equipped to put together the Media Notes for this week if I had pursued a medical degree rather than my love of stats – given the growing list of injured athletes with the Wolves.

That said and as the coaching staff is sure to reinforce in their messaging to the players in the next few weeks, a “next man up” mentality inevitably creates opportunities for some who have not had the chance to play as high up in the lineup as they certainly would like. It will be interesting to see which prospect most seize this chance they are given.

THE VETS ARE DOING THEIR PART
In a 6-4 win on Wednesday over the Niagara Ice Dogs, the line of Nick DeGrazia (2002), Ethan Larmand (2003) and Landon McCallum (2003) were again front and centre, led by the two goal effort of the overage speedster from Thunder Bay. Enjoying a three-point performance for the third time in his past eight games, DeGrazia has now potted 18 goals on the season, with eight of them coming after Christmas alone.

Though his numbers to date this year are a little more modest (8G-14A in 35 games), Ethan Larmand now has points in six of his last eight games and is only slightly below a point a game pace (10 pts in 12 games) since December 4th.

LOOKING AHEAD INSTEAD OF BEHIND THEM
With a number one priority of creating some space between themselves and the two teams that currently sit outside of the playoff picture at the moment in the Eastern Conference (Niagara and the Oshawa Generals), the Wolves have not worried a whole lot about closing the gap in front of them – although that is an obvious bi-product of putting together a string of 6-1-0-2 hockey at this time of year.

The locals might well be in a position to leapfrog the Hamilton Bulldogs when the Steeltown crew make a visit north on Friday, with the Wolves having doubled the Dogs 6-3 on the road in their only meeting to date this year, back on January 7th. The Wolves received scoring from six different sources in that game, while Patrick Thomas countered with a pair for Hamilton.

The Wolves are trying to close the gap in the all-time record of head to head matchups with what was originally the Belleville Bulls franchise. On October 23rd (1981), the Wolves clipped the Bulls 8-6 in Sudbury in their first ever meeting. More recently (November of 2019), these teams met up in Sudbury and produced an 11-10 overtime win for the visiting Bulldogs in a contest that ranks as one of the all-time busiest games for goals in the fifty year history of the Wolves.

A NORTHERN RIVALRY WITH NORTH BAY IS ALWAYS MORE FUN
The Wolves will look to continue their inspired play of late against the North Bay Battalion on the road Sunday afternoon, having left the stench of earlier back to back losses by three goals or more (7-3 and 7-4) behind them and playing some of their best hockey of the season in beating North Bay 3-2 on December 30th and being on the wrong end of a 2-1 shootout final just one week ago.

Goaltenders Kevyn Brassard (Sudbury) and Dom DiVincentis (North Bay) combined to stop 53 of the 55 shots they faced through 65 minutes of hockey in that last affair before Kyle MacDonald scored the game-winner for the Battalion in the shootout – but only after both Alex Pharand (SBY) and Ty Nelson (NB) scored highlight reel penalty shot goals.

Interestingly enough, the Battalion have scored exactly seven goals in four of their last six games, with Sudbury full measure for holding the 29-10-0-1 division leaders to just one plus a shootout tally in their last encounter.

Orendorff and Associates