TORONTO – The Lakehead Thunderwolves were edged 5-4 by the York Lions in an overtime shootout at the Canlan Ice Sports Arena in North York on Friday night.
After a scoreless first period, the floodgates opened in a wild second stanza beginning with Ben Verrall’s wrister that sailed past Lakehead goalie Nic Renyard to put York up 1-0.
The Wolves scored two goals just 39 seconds apart midway through the period go-ahead 2-1. Brennen Dubchak evened the score at the 12:11 mark on a two-on-one break that was set up nicely by Scott Gall, and then Patrick Murphy scored from the doorstep with Gall assisting once again.
The Lions responded with three goals in less than three minutes to quickly regain the momentum. York’s Stefano Pezzetta knocked home a rebound at 13:40 and Adam Marsh put the Lions ahead by one at 16:03.
Marsh struck again 47 seconds later when he sped down the right side, cut toward the middle a fired a hard wrister high on Renyard, giving York a 4-2 lead.
Sam Schutt took advantage of a Lions’ turnover and beat York netminder Alex Fotinos high on the blocker side 1:51 into the third, narrowing the gap to 4-3. Dillon Donnelly and Jake Ringuette picked up the helpers.
Lakehead pulled Renyard for an extra attacker with over a minute remaining in regulation and the move paid off when Ringuette’s point shot made its way through traffic and behind Fotinos with only 30 seconds showing on the clock. Murphy and Dubchak were credited with the assists.
Both teams had good scoring opportunities in the three-on-three overtime session but were unable to convert. Renyard made a huge save on an odd-man rush for the Lions, and Lakehead’s Billy Jenkins just missed the net after breaking in alone on Fotinos.
Grant Valiquette, Dylan Butler, and Jenkins were all rebuffed by Fotinos in the shootout, and after two big stops by Renyard on York’s first two attempts, Derek Sheppard beat him with a backhand deke to give the Lions the win.
In a game where only two minor penalties were assessed, the Thunderwolves went 0-for-2 on the power play and were not called for any infractions in the contest.
Total shots on goal in the game were 37-30 for the Lions.
Lakehead will conclude the weekend road trip in Guelph tomorrow night, with the opening face-off set for 7:30 p.m. at the Gryphon Centre.