THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – The Lakehead Thunderwolves twice held two-goal leads and never trailed until the game was over, a 5-4 overtime loss to the York Lions before 2,050 fans at the Fort William Gardens on Friday night.
The Wolves came out flying and took the early lead when Sam Schutt fired the puck past York goalie Mack Shields on a Lakehead power play 4:12 into the game, with Patrick Murphy and Billy Jenkins getting the assists.
The Lions evened the score with a power-play goal of their own when Kyle Campbell scored from the doorstep at 10:17.
Lakehead’s Cooper Leitch replied just nine seconds later when he finished off a two-on-one set up by Jonathon Masters and Callum Fryer, and then Scott Gall converted a nice cross-crease pass from Dylan Butler at 11:20 and the Wolves were rolling with a 3-1 lead.
York’s Scott Feser broke in alone on Lakehead netminder Nic Renyard and beat him low on the stick side 33 seconds into the middle frame to draw the Lions to within one, but Leitch struck again 17 seconds later to restore the Wolves two-goal cushion. Masters and Grant Valiquette were credited with the helpers.
Masters nearly put the Wolves ahead by three, but Shields robbed him with a great pad save midway through the period to keep the Lions within striking distance.
After Lakehead controlled the play for much of the first two periods, the Lions turned the tables in the third, outshooting the Wolves 16-4 and scoring twice to send the game into overtime.
Reid Jackman flipped the puck over Renyard’s shoulder at 3:48 to narrow Lakehead’s lead to one, and Colton Vannucci knocked home a rebound at 9:11 to knot the score at 4-4.
Vannucci was called for cross-checking 1:07 into the extra session giving Lakehead a four-on-three power play, but the Wolves were unable to capitalize despite creating some great scoring opportunities.
Then with only 38 seconds showing on the clock, a lively bounce off the back boards gave York’s Morgan Messenger a clear shot from the slot that Renyard saved, but Shayne Rover was quick to pounce on the rebound and end the game.
Total shots on goal in the contest were 42-34 in favor of the Lions.
For the night, Lakehead was 1-for-5 with the man-advantage while York went 1-for-3.
The Molson Three Stars of the game were:
- Shayne Rover, York
- Cooper Leitch, Lakehead
- Jonathon Masters, Lakehead
The Wolves will look to get back into the win column tomorrow night when they face the Lions again, with the opening face-off set for 7:00 PM.