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Still much to clean up defensively - but at least this time, it is a win
2024-03-09

One would have to believe that the Sudbury Wolves were intent on erasing any lingering stench from an ugly 11-7 loss to the Windsor Spitfires in mid-January as the Western Conference foe made their one and only appearance in the Nickel City Friday Night.

Well, at least this time the Wolves got the win.

In a contest that matched the defensive ineptitude and shaky goaltending of the first encounter and came within one goal of matching the total offensive production of same, the local juniors needed overtime to eke out a 9-8 win over the tenth place team in the west.

With a tendency at times to waver between all or nothing, NHL first rounder Quentin Musty was all-in versus the Spits, recording four goals and two assists in a stellar performance that including netting his fourth game-winning goal in overtime of the year.

Dalibor Dvorsky added two goals and three assists as the Sudbury top line accounted for seven of the nine goals, with Landon McCallum opening the scoring in the first, re-directing a point shot from Matthew Mania.

The exuberance of the crowd of more than four thousand was short-lived as Carson Woodall, Ryan Struthers and Ethan Martin all responded over the course of the next ten minutes, with Nick Yearwood getting one back in the final minute of the frame.

Tallies just 25 seconds apart from Liam Greentree and Colton Smith would just Sudbury starter Marcus Vandenberg before the four minute mark of period two, his team now trailing 5-2.

To what extent that switch sparked the hometown squad is difficult to know for sure - but the Wolves did record the next five goals in unanswered fashion. Dalibor Dvorsky scored twice (6:52 & 8:46), followed by Quentin Musty (11:26), Andre Anania (19:27) and Musty, in the third (3:59), pushing the Pack back to the front, 7-5.

Still, the goals were not yet done - not by a long shot.

After Liam Greentree reduced the margin to one, Musty capped off his hat-trick at 8:20, the Sudbury crew now needing only to lock things down defensively for slightly more than a half period of play.

A little too much to ask, apparently, as Nathan Gaymes (14:12) and Noah Morneau (16:25) deadlock the contest and setting the stage for what has become almost an expected part of period four play for coach Ken MacKenzie and company as Musty made it a four goal night, giving the San Jose Sharks' prospect 35 snipes on the year.

Yes, it was ugly, but it was a much needed win for Sudbury as it pushed the team atop an Eastern Conference race that currently sees the top six teams separating by - you won't believe this - just four points in total.

The Wolves are on the road for a huge matchup with the North Bay Battalion on Sunday, returning home to host the Oshawa Generals next Friday and then closing out a tough three in three with visits to face the Barrie Colts (Saturday evening) and Owen Sound Attack (Sunday afternoon).

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