The Sudbury Wolves were coming off a 10-1 loss in Barrie Thursday night and while the Wolves rebounded nicely, an entertaining game turned into a tough final period with a 6-3 loss to Mississauga.
“We battled tonight, we were much better tonight, tonight is a start of what we have to see and we’d like to win some hockey games playing that way,” Wolves Head Coach Cory Stillman said.
Drake Pilon scored twice on the night and found himself wearing an assistant captain letter on his jersey.
“I thought we put in a good effort, just kind of mental lapse the first few minutes of the third and against a good team like that, it will cost you. They’ve got a couple NHL players that have played a few games and it will cost you every time,” said Pilon.
Sudbury fans got their first look at both Alexey Lipanov and Peter Stratis, who were acquired at the deadline and they did not disappoint with Lipanov scoring and Stratis picking up an assist.
Stillman paired Lipanov with David Levin and Kirill Nizhnikov which turned out to be a combination that created a good chunk of scoring chances for the Wolves.
“I’m going to leave those guys together for sure to see if they can build. Take some positives out of what is going on, those three were good tonight, I think Blake(Murray) playing with the twins has been a good line too. They’ve been in their zone and Drake (Pilon) scored two goals tonight too. We’re getting some chemistry and with everybody healthy and saying that the lines will stay the same for a while yes,” said Stillman.
With the loss, Sudbury falls to 11-25-6-0, now nine points out of a playoff spot, with 26 games to go and a rash of changes Stillman said there still should be plenty of motivation to play.
“It’s still fun coming to the rink. We haven’t quit, until the day, until we’re mathematically eliminated I expect to come in, to compete, to win and when that day comes we can go there but I expect these guys to come in and put a full effort in every day,” said Stillman.
That will fall on the coaches and the new leadership group which consists of new captain Kyle Rhodes.
“Positivity is key for us, and you know through all the bad and hard times I think we just need to stay together and battle our way through and you know just come out stronger and stronger every day,” said Rhodes.
The Sudbury Wolves started with some fire as they put pressure early on Steelheads goalie Jacob Ingham.
Thanks to a penalty by Mississauga the Wolves were able to strike first.
After the trades, Stillman decided to deploy David Levin, Kirill Nizhnikov, Cole Candella, Macauley Carson and newcomer Alexey Lipanov on the first power play unit.
Lipanov scored off a the pass from Levin to give him 12 on the season and his first with the new club.
Drake Pilon scored a beauty not long after carrying the puck over the blue line and sliding a backhand shot past Ingham for his sixth of the year.
Peter Stratis picked up his first point in Sudbury with the assist, the other assist went to rookie Blake Murray.
The Steelheads got back within one on a goal from Michael McLeod and despite a few chances from both sides, the period ended 2-1 Sudbury.
It’s been a while since Sudbury led after one period.
The last time they won a first frame was December 1 against the Steelheads, which they went on to win 6-3.
They also have only led after one period 12 of their 42 games this season.
The second period didn’t look good for Sudbury as Cole Carter tipped in a point shot to tie the game up, then Reagan O’Grady fired a point shot past McGrath receiving a nice applause from the Sudbury faithful for his first in a Steelheads uniform.
Just as it looked like the game was turning in the favour of the Steelheads, the Wolves reeled themselves back in and Drake Pilon scored his second of the game.
Sudbury and Mississauga were tied 3-3 after two periods with the shots 25-22 for Mississauga.
In the third, the game did turn in the Steelheads favour as Mathieu Foget and Michael McLeod scored 22 seconds apart to give Mississauga the lead for good.
Cole Carter tipped in his second of the game for extra measure near the end of the game making the final 6-3 and shots on net 40-31 for Mississauga.
Sudbury is home to Owen Sound on Sunday.