By John Langdon
The Brampton Battalion continued their winning ways against the Sudbury Wolves this season when they rolled into the Nickel capital on Friday night and earned a hard fought 3-2 win.
The Battalion occupied foreign territory by playing a near-perfect road game and snapping the Wolves two-game win streak in the process.
“They’re a hard-working team and one of our game plans was that we have to outwork them,” Wolves Head Coach Trent Cull said. He added the Wolves failed to do that, “by giving them a freebie period, and trying to battle back in two. As everyone says, it’s a 60 minute game.”
Stephon Thorne helped lead Brampton to victory with two goals, including the game-winner, while linemate Philip Lane contributed three assists and earned the game’s first-star selection.
The Battalion were backstopped by goaltender Cody St. Jacques who made 32 saves, including a magnificent glove save on the Wolves Mike Lomas, taking away a wide-open net midway through the third period to keep Brampton ahead 3-2.
The veteran netminder, who was arguably the best player on the ice Friday night, displayed tremendous composure throughout the game, as his solid positioning and rebound control allowed very few second-chance opportunities.
Brampton, who stuck to their game plan of getting pucks in deep and outworking the opposition, were rewarded with the first goal of the game just 4:02 into the opening frame when Thorne jumped on a loose puck in the crease and beat Wolves goaltender Alain Valiquette, after Sam Carrick rang a shot off the post.
Sudbury evened the score at 12:25 of the first when defenceman Josh McFadden fired a shot past St. Jacques on the powerplay. Michael Sgarbossa and Frank Corrado provided the assists.
However, just minutes later, Brampton regained the lead after Michael Santini buried another rebound to put the Battalion ahead 2-1.
After being outworked and outshot 14-4 in the first period, Cull elected to mix his team’s lines in order to generate some offence.
“I wasn’t pleased with our first period and some guys weren’t pulling their weight,” the Wolves head coach said.
The decision appeared to spark the Wolves in the second period as they managed to turn things around by directing pucks on net and eventually evened the score 2-2 when Eric O’Dell gave Sudbury its second powerplay goal of the game, after Brampton’s Ian Watters was handed a double-minor for high-sticking.
The Wolves looked to carry the momentum into the third period after outshooting the Battalion 14-8 in the middle frame, however, Brampton restored their lead early in the third when Thorne cashed-in his second goal of the contest after receiving a beautiful pass from Scott Tanski. The Battalion forwards broke into the Sudbury zone and Tanski displayed some skilled hands to set up Thorne for the game-winning goal.
The Wolves pressed for the equalizer but failed to capitalize, as St. Jacques held the fort for the Battalion by making 16 saves in the final 20 minutes.
This was the sixth meeting between the two teams this season with Brampton owning a 5-1 record.
The Wolves will need to put the loss behind them as they prepare for a two-game road trip this weekend where they head to Peterborough to face the Petes on Saturday, while on Sunday they take on the Generals in Oshawa.