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U16 AAA Wolves snap losing skid in a big, big way
2024-02-07

Every hockey team around could really use a 12-2 laugher of a win at some point in their season.

Few could have used it last weekend quite as much as the Sudbury U16 AAA Wolves.

Snapping an eleven game losing skid in Great North U18 AAA Hockey League play, including no less than seven encounters where they were within two goals or less as the final buzzer sounded, the U16 AAA Wolves dominated from start to finish Saturday aginst the Kapuskasing Flyers.

Mason Walker and Ashton Pitawanakwat both recorded hat tricks, with Kaden Wicklander adding a two-goal effort as the Sudbury lads registered their seventh win of the year in 22 games, pulling to within three points of Kapuskasing in their efforts to escape the basement of the northern loop.

Captain Dawson Morris, Drake Taylor, Hudson Goulet and Noah Lafrance capped off the scoring for the Wolves as the locals built up leads of 5-0 (after one) and 10-0 (after two).

Sudbury netminder Kalia Pharand remained focused in spite of the lopsided scoreboard, making several key saves in the opening forty minutes of play before finally being beaten on shots from Makai Manttari and Bruce Shier in the final twelve minutes of period three.

"That win felt great, obviously, after the big slump there," acknowledged Dawson Morris after the game, the ultra-solid blueliner helping to get the ball rolling, burying the second goal of the game midway through the first.

"It's good to get back on a little win streak - well, one game so far," Morris added with a smile. "Hopefully we make it two on Wednesday (versus the Sudbury U18 AAA Wolves)."

The younger of the local entries still have seven games remaining prior to the league playoff weekend and with the eyes of OHL scouts still upon them, there's little chance the effort will wane, moving forward.

"For our games coming up, we need to continue to come out with that hard intensity, focus on defense first, play solid in the D zone, don't allow a lot of goals and the rest will go from there," said Dawson.

The U16 AAA Wolves had come heart-breakingly close to upsetting the North Bay U18 AAA Trappers the night before, dropping a 4-3 decision in the end. "We were up 3-2 and then I think what killed us was penalties," said Dawson, his team surrendering three goals in the final frame, two on the power play.

"It sucks getting penalties with under ten minutes to play in the third, especially in a close game like that, but if you get them, you've got to find a way to kill them off. But keeping cool in the last ten minutes would help."

Wearing the "C" for a second straight season, Morris doesn't feel the need to impose his pre-game approach on others, but will look for opportunities where is leadership is perhaps needed more than at other times.

"It doesn't matter how everyone gets prepared for a game, as long as once they hit the ice, they are focused and trying their best," he said. "If we need a little energy, I might go out and throw a hit or something, maybe make a nice pass to get the energy up."

The intra-city rivalry will ramp up twice this week as the Sudbury teams go toe to toe again on Saturday night, with the U16 AAA Wolves hosting North Bay the next afternoon at Countryside #1.

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