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Game Review – Sudbury Wolves (7th in East) vs. Brampton Battalion (6th in East)


By: Brandon Sudeyko

BRAMPTON – A big divisional game can easily take away the pain of a Sudbury-Brampton Matchup that I usually have at the bunker and this truly was a big divisional play.  Despite what some of my twitter followers have said to me during the game. I actually enjoyed this tilt between the team no one wants to play in the Playoffs and the team that can stand toe to toe with every team in the league. To be clear Sudbury is the first and Brampton the latter.

It was a compelling first period where I was waiting for the armour around Alain Valiquette to crack as he faced a relentless barrage of shots from the Battalion. 25 in fact, in the first 20 minutes of play to the Wolves 7. Someone mentioned to me that it is quality over quantity and I have to say, Brampton had a lot more quality with their 25. There were point blank saves, mad scrambles where players were falling down infront of the Wolves netminder and even a post or two.
Marcus Foligno
Sudbury was lucky to be up 1-0 on a goal by Josh Leivo after 20 minutes. That even included the absence of Sudbury captain, Marcus Foligno. Foligno has come back from a knee injury and that was the fear of why he left the ice in the first. But he returned to the game in the second and was his usual dominant self. Infact I think I like the kid more now after I never realized how good he is with his hands. On a delayed penalty in the second period, after the wolves had a good 45 seconds of control in the Battalion zone. A Frankie Corrado shot goes around the boards and is recovered outside the Brampton zone by Foligno. Marcus waits for his team to get on side, circles past centre ice and enters the battalion zone getting by a forward, he doesn’t like what he sees and curls back out.  A big skate through the Wolves zone he then enters Brampton territory yet again pulling a dangle that would make Ryan Strome jealous as he undressed 2 Battalion players before he dished the puck off to a teammate. A few minutes player Marcus put any doubt to rest that he was injured as he dumped Jordan Auld into the Wolves bench in a hit you saw a mile away before Marcus even noticed that Jordan was vulnerable. The second went scoreless and was highlighted by a dive by Josh McFadden to strike the puck off of Ian Watters stick as he was in on a breakaway on Valiquette.

The third rolls around and the Battalion has fired 37 shots on Valiquette and I am seriously waiting for something to go wrong and for him to lose the shutout. Sudbury is working the PP off of an Ian Watters roughing call. The penalty expires and waters steps on to the ice skating toward the Brampton zone as Sudbury’s Michael Sgarbossa shoots a pass from the end boards up the centre of the ice sraight to Watters. Watters turns and is in alone on Valiquette with McFadden chasing hard.,.. again. This time McFadden slashes Watters which results in the ref pointing to centre ice and the most exciting play in Hockey. At this point the Sudbury netminder has already faced 45 shots and I am expecting McFadden to owe Alain huge after this. But he comes up with a giant save and he keeps on rolling. Off of a rebound at the 14 minute mark of the third Kristof Kontos makes it 2-0 and creates some breathing room. Moving to the final 4 minutes of the game and the Wolves have Jambrosich and McFadden in the box  and it is a 5 on 3 for Battalion who have a golden opportunity. 

Their closest chance at putting a puck past valiquette came off the stick of Phillip Lane who rattles it off the iron. With under a minute to go, Sudbury’s Foligno, and Brampton’s Johansson get sent off for roughing as it is 5 on 4 after the Battalion pull Matej Machovsky for the extra skater. Another mad scramble ensues and there is Alain Valiquette stopping everything as if the puck was  the size of a beachball.

When the dust settled and the final buzzer sounded it is the Sudbury Wolves with the 2-0 victory and Valiquette with the 1st star in a 55 save effort to prove to most non believers… that Sudbury is a truly scary team and that any opponent will have to be on their game… or Sudbury will take the game.

All in all, just under 1600 people got to witness the game and that is a shame. It was one of the Battalions better games even in the defeat. Next game Saturday night as Sarnia pick themselves up and face the Niagara IceDogs in the Jack.

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