It was the most entertaining game at the Sudbury Arena this season and abonus for the Wolves faithful, Sudbury was able to come away with a win.
The Sudbury Wolves and Niagara IceDogs combined for 11 goals, four power play goals and one extremely pretty overtime winner by Dmitry Sokolov as Sudbury beat Niagara 6-5.
“We’ve actually been playing pretty well the last week and a half or so, that’s a pretty big win as far as gut check with 10 minutes to go and their goalie playing pretty well. Just to find a way to come back on a Friday night in Sudbury and see the crowd erupt the way they did, it was a big, big, big win for us tonight,” said Wolves Assistant Coach Darryl Moxam.
For the players, it’s nice to see that scoring output and play in this type of game but better to come out on top.
“Well they’re fun if you win them, but if you lose them they’re not so fun,” said Shane Bulitka.
It was a nice bounce back game for the Wolves who came off an overtime loss on Wednesday in Sault Ste. Marie where they blew a 4-2 third period lead.
“When guys play the way they did tonight and you have that many young guys in the lineup, finding ways to win these hockey games is critical. There’s cliches that you have to find ways to lose games before you can find ways to win games and I think it’s about time we started finding ways to win games, and tonight’s a big step in the right direction,” said Moxam.
Jake McGrath played more than well enough to win that game on Wednesday but picked up the loss, and tonight he was sharp again despite the five goals against, he made 36 saves.
“To see Jake find a way to come back the last couple weeks he’s playing great and we need him to the rest of the year,” said Moxam.
Niagara came into the game at 7-4-2-1 but the Wolves have now beaten the IceDogs in all three matchups this season.
“I think we’ve stuck to the game plan and kept working, we’ve outworked them and that’s been the difference,” said Bulitka.
The Wolves might be stashing an IceDogs jersey in Michael Pezzetta’s locker room from here on out because he has been unstoppable in three games against them this year with eight points and a plus four rating.
With a number of injuries hitting the Wolves Pezzetta’s line with Troy Lajeunesse and Dmitry Sokolov needed to be big, and they were, with a combined eight points between them.
“I think you heard Cory(Stillman) say it a bunch of times this year that sometimes the other teams best line or their best players have been better then ours and tonight I would for sure agree. We need our best players to find ways to be successful and in the third period those guys did that,” said Moxam.
Lajeunesse was able to tie the game up 5-5 with just over five minutes to play after a won face-off in the IceDogs zone and Pezzetta getting to the front of the net.
Reagan O’Grady fired a shot from the point that went off Pezzetta in front and Lajeunesse beat two Niagara players to the puck to tip in the goal.
In overtime Dmitry Sokolov scored his second of the game on a breakaway where he lifted up his skate, faked forehand and went backhand top corner for the win.
He then proceeded to give a patented Sokolov celebration as his teammates joined him.
It was also a night of a couple firsts.
Emmett Serensits scored his first OHL goal while Evan Krassey scored his first with the Wolves.
Krassey was drafted by Niagara in 2014 and played 47 games for Niagara and Hamilton over two seasons.
He got into two games with the Wolves last season and in his second game this season, the man from Atikokan, Ontario found number one.
“It was pretty awesome experience for sure to finally put it in the back of the net, felt pretty good for myself,” said Krassey.
The game was back and forth as the IceDogs scored first with Ben Jones starting the scoring.
Sokolov and Krassey made it 2-1 after one period.
Kirill Maksimov netted his seventh of the season which kicked off a crazy second period.
Serensits made it 3-2 Wolves, Danial Singer evened it up at 3-3, Pezzetta got it to 4-3 but Matthew Philip finished the second at 4-4.
The IceDogs were able to again get an early period goal in the third, another from Ben Jones and the game stayed that way until Lajeunesse tied it late.
The Wolves move to 6-9-3-0 and will face off against Mississauga Saturday night in Sudbury.
The Steelheads started slow but have picked up points in their last four games.