In the Eye of the Storm

Posted: December 29, 2015 by WolvesInsider in Sudbury Wolves News
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As the dawn has broken on another blistery day in Sudbury, it marks a new beginning. It’s not necessarily a clean slate, but it is a new beginning.  The Sudbury Wolves season thus far has been filled with the lowest of lows, and yet there have been moments that carry us through, moments that show us that there just may be that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Going 3 out of 4 before the Christmas break, may have been just what the doctor ordered in order to get back on track. Or were they really off track? If you look at the record of the Wolves you come to a quick conclusion, but that conclusion may be too hastily drawn. Their record is abysmal. There is no doubt about that. Going 8-24-3-0 in their first 35 games,  puts the Wolves uncontested in 10th place in the East. The only team with a worse record in the Ontario Hockey League is the Guelph Storm but they too are experiencing their own adversities. The second half of the season is upon us, and the Wolves are only 12 points out of a playoff position.

What once seemed like an insurmountable feat, may just be a possibility. The Wolves need to find their groove. They need to make some moves leading up to the trade deadline. They ultimately have no choice. They are carrying three goalies on their active roster. That just doesn’t work. All three obviously want to play and compete, but at the end of the day, it’s not going to happen. With the absence of Troy Timpano for an extended period it was up to Zach Bowman and Matthew Menna . Trading for Bowman when Timpano went down makes it seem likely he won’t be the odd one out but with Barclay Branch it’s never a sure thing.

There have been hard fought battles. David Matsos himself has said so many times that they have put forth valiant efforts, efforts that don’t match their record. This is a young team, an inexperienced team. It embodies their slogan for the season #makewayforthenew and that’s what they have done. They have traded away what were thought to be some key parts of the team, they have acquired players who waived no trades at the opportunity to play more minutes dressed in blue, they have drafted who they believe just may be the saviours they were looking for. Both import players Dmitry Sokolov and Alan Lyszczarczyk have been the teams best, with a combined 51 pts in the first half.

This is a team who looks to their leader behind the bench. A coach they respect, admire and buy into the systems he has developed for this team. So what exactly is the missing piece? Injuries have definitely plagued the Wolves in the first half, but is that really the issue? It is definitely a contributing factor, as when you are playing big games without your key players, it’s that much more of an uphill battle.  Could it be the defence core, a young group who with the exception of Wilkie are all minus players? Patrick Murphy -17, Kyle Capobianco -29, Connor Cummins -21, Jarett Meyer -8, Reagan O’Grady -11, Cole Mayo -33, Brandon Bastasin -4. Those numbers no matter how you look at it are not good. Is that ultimately the issue? I would say again, another contributing factor. Upfront, the offense just has not been where it needs to be. They have the 2nd fewest goals for, ahead of only the Storm. Could this be the very piece that is holding them back? It’s definitely a problem. With contributing factors, it adds up to an issue, one that the Wolves need to solve and solve quickly if they want to keep their hopes of making the playoffs alive.

Tonight as the Wolves take to the ice against the Niagara Ice Dogs, they look to right the leaning ship. They look for redemption.  Players play to win, not to lose, not to finish 2nd best, they play to win. The Sudbury Wolves are no different. Their path to winning is a hard fought battle night in and night out, but they continue to work the systems they have been taught, they continue to have leadership from the veterans, the core group, good things can happen. “We can weather anything, if we stay calm in the eye of the storm.” –Lolly Daskal

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