Thunderwolves win defensive gem
By Gary Moskalyk
Breathe easy, Lakehead University.
Carson Dubchak’s first goal of the year, an empty-netter, with 28 seconds left, finished off a tight defensive battle and gave the Thunderwolves a 3-1 win before 2,100 fans at Fort William Gardens.
With LU losing a pair of crucial face-offs in their end and Toronto Varsity Blues goaltender Brett Willows pulled, Dubchak corralled a loose puck at the LU blueline and fired it into the middle of the Toronto net for the insurance marker.
It took almost eight minutes for the Lakehead University Thunderwolves to register their first shot of the game.
Mind you, the Toronto Varsity Blues only had three at that point, in a game long on winter, but a little short on classic.
A lucky bounce off a stanchion gave a wide-open Andrew Wilkins a late Christmas present and his fourth goal of the year to open the scoring for Lakehead at 11:52 of the first.
Mitch Fillman increased the lead to 2-0 only 70 seconds later on his second of the campaign on a shot through traffic that changed direction.
In a penalty-free first period, Toronto scored on their ninth shot against LU starter Jeff Bosch.
With 34 seconds left, Tyler Von Engelbrechten netted one for Toronto from the front of the net.
Shots on goal ended up 9-9 after one, 20-15 Toronto after two, and 27-26 Lakehead at the end.
The second frame was scoreless, as was the third until Dubchak’s skittering 100-footer.
The Lakehead University Thunderwolves match against the Toronto Varsity Blues marks the official start of second half.
The win moved Lakehead’s record to 12-3 on the season.
It’s a record that coach Bill McDonald is pleased with.
“It’s up to us to take that next step forward in the second half,” said McDonald. “It ain’t going to be easy.”
The Varsity Blues fell to 9-6-2.
“I’m comfortable with our team. (Losing forward Trevor) Gamache is a huge blow,” said McDonald before the game. “He plays in every situation. It gives other guys a chance to step up. A (Jake) Carrick, a (Keith) Grondin, a (Carson) Dubchak now.”
Cody Alcock went off twice during the game. His status for tonight is fine, however.
Coach McDonald may possibly roll with Bosch now that he’s back, but Justin McDonald has been solid in holding the fort.
“Strange things happen. I didn’t expect him (McDonald) to play that much.
“Boscher (Jeff Bosch) went down and (McDonald) stepped in. It shows what kind of character guy he is. I don’t think the team has a problem with who plays in net.”
The Thunderwolves play the Blues tonight at 7:30 p.m., at the Gardens.