The Coldwater Ice Wolves redeemed themselves from a Friday night defeat as they defeated the Wexford (Scarborough) Raiders 9-4, lead by a six-point night from Ivan Korčák.
Friday night, the Ice Wolves were on the road against Wexford and fell 5-4 in a shootout to the Raiders. Saturday night would prove to be a different story as Coldwater improved to 8-9-1 on the season and 5-2 at the Coldwater Arena and have passed the Seaforth Generals to move into fifth place in the CPJHL.
The night did not start off well for the Ice Wolves, and Wexford struck first when Kevin Yohan’s shot deflected past goalie Ty Golden with 12:56 left in the first. Coldwater tied the game 1-1 less than a minute later when Korčák’s slot slipped past Raiders’ goalie Brodie Goddard and inched across the goal line.
Later in the first, a horrible Ice Wolves’ line change would give Wexford’s Jarrett Blaase a wide open breakaway, and he would make them pay as the Raiders took a 2-1 lead. Coldwater would tie it up before the end of the period when Clayton Hongosh won an offensive zone draw cleanly, right to Korčák’s tape and he buried a wrist shot low and past Goddard to tie it at 2. The Raiders had another chance to take the lead with just seconds left in the period, but Golden made a spectacular pad save to keep the score tied heading in to intermission.
Early in the second period, Coldwater found themselves on the power play. While they did not score during the two minutes, they did so just four seconds after the penalty ended when Maksim Kalashnikov centred the puck to Colin Carlson an Carlson hammered one home to make it 3-2 for the Ice Wolves.
Korčák would make it 4-2 and complete the hat trick midway through the second period. A ferocious Ice Wolves forecheck caused a turnover, Hongosh fired a shot that just missed but Cam Gee would get it back in front and Korčák finished the job, completing his third hat trick of the season.
Coldwater would continue to pepper the Raiders, firing 25 shots on net in the second period alone, but Goddard kept them in the game with a number of tremendous saves, including a spectacular reaching glove save to rob Hongosh on a breakaway. Despite the Ice Wolves dominating play, Wexford would cut the gap to 4-3 when Blaase’s shot deflected off Golden’s mask and the post before finding the back of the net.
The score remained that way in to the third period, during which Coldwater finally broke through and opened the floodgates. Just over three minutes into the period, Zachary Iron – a forward who was called in to playing defense due to multiple Ice Wolves’ injuries – burst through the Raiders defense on a brilliant rush and scored his sixth goal of the season to make it 5-3.
Only 23 seconds later, Hongosh would be sprung on a breakaway by Korčák and this time he would make no mistake, wiring one past Goddard’s blocker to make it 6-3 for Coldwater. Just moments after that, Coldwater founds themselves on the power play and they would make Wexford pay. Defenseman Jiri Dvorak scored a highlight-reel goal as he rushed end-to-end before deking Goddard and then scoring on the backhand to make it 7-3, chasing the Raiders’ goalie and effectively sealing the game for the Ice Wolves.
Blaase would complete the hat trick to cut the lead to 7-4, again getting a breakaway off a bad line change, but Wexford would not come any closer. Korčák picked up his fourth goal of the game on a rebound off a Rico Opikokew shot; and then his chip pass up to Sean Blackbird sprung him on a partial breakaway, Blackbird would find the back of the net to make the score 9-4 Coldwater, and that would be the final.
11 different Ice Wolves found the scoresheet, led by Korčák’s four goals and two assists as well as Hongosh’s goal and three assists. Golden made 22 saves and improved to 4-1 on the season, Korčák is now up to 23 goals and 36 points on the season – both are good enough for fourth in the CPJHL – but to him, all that matters is the team and the victory.
“I’m happy about how the team played, it’s not about the points,” Korčák, who is from Slovakia and has played exceptional all year while also learning English, said through a translator after the game. “We just need to keep going, let’s win a couple more games, get ready for the playoffs.”
When asked what the difference between Friday’s loss and Saturday’s win, Coach Justin Beers said, “Work ethic. I’ve always said that, I think that we definitely have enough talent in this room to be successful We just got out worked last night, tonight we came out and we put in a full sixty [minutes] and we wore them down.” That certainly showed in the final period, as the Ice Wolves outshot the Raiders 28-5 in the final frame while outscoring them 5-1 en route to the win.
Coldwater’s next game is Saturday, December 1, when they host their rivals, the Muskoka Anglers. The Anglers picked up a huge win of their own last night, defeating the first-place Essa Stallions 4-3, and currently sit in fourth place in the CPJHL – just two points ahead of he fifth-place Ice Wolves. Muskoka will travel to Essa on Friday night before heading in to Coldwater for the rivalry game on Saturday.
For ticket information or the full team stats, schedule and information, head over to www.coldwatericewolves.com