Lions feast on Wolves
By Aron Yeomanson
“HOLD ME CLOSER, TONY DANZA.” Lakehead Thunderwolves
captain Joel Scherban battles York’s Julian Smith as
they await a face-off during Saturday’s West Division
Saturday afternoon was just another chapter of the same old story
for the Lakehead Thunderwolves.
After enjoying yet another spectacular regular season and a victory
over Western in the Far West Division final, the Thunderwolves
had their season cut short by the York Lions for the second straight
year, losing their semi-final contest 3-2.
Trailing York by a score of 2-1 heading into the third period,
Lakehead threw everything they had at York goaltender Derek Dolson.
Their strategy paid dividends when Michael Wehrstedt fired a shot
through a crowd and between Dolson’s pads to even the score
“I thought we played really well the first two periods,” said
York coach Graham Wise. “They came out guns-a-blazin’ in
the third, and it was all we could do to try and weather the storm.”
Despite sustained pressure and a sense of urgency, the Thunderwolves
were unable to take the lead as time and time again Dolson was
there to make the key save.
Even with the man advantage, the Thunderwolves came up short as
the York penalty-kill completed a perfect six for six night with
James Carney in the box at the midway point of the period.
At 13:53 of the final frame, York was given their third power
play of the game when Thunderwolves defenseman Matt Kenny was called
for interference. Fourteen seconds later, the Lions jumped back
on top as fourth-year centre Matt Reynolds found a loose puck in
the crease and banged it home for the winning goal.
Dolson was able to stifle the Lakehead attack for the remainder
of the game as the Lions earned a spot in the Queen’s Cup
final, as well as a trip to New Brunswick for the National Championship.
Phil Knapp and Daryl Bat each scored first period goals for the
Lions, while Chris Shaffer rounded out the scoring with a tally
in the first period for Lakehead.
Making 52 saves in the contest, Dolson was the undisputed player
of the game, an occurrence that has been all too familiar to Ontario
University Athletics competition this season.
“He’s amazing,” said York alternate captain
Steve Chabbert of his netminder. When he’s on, we can beat
anyone in the country and we displayed that today.”
Special teams were a huge factor in the game. York’s ability
to take advantage on the power play accounted for two of their
three goals as they didn’t let many good opportunities go
“If you win the special teams, you usually win the game,” Chabbert
explained. “It’s something we’ve really tried
to focus on in the playoffs. It worked for us [in the Mid West
Division final] against Laurier, and it worked again today.”
Coupled with Toronto’s win over Western on Friday night,
York’s victory had Thompson Arena a-buzz with the word ‘upset’.
However, Belliveau cautioned against thinking about this tournament
in terms of favourites and underdogs.
“This time of year, anything can and will happen,” Belliveau
said. “There are five good teams in this tournament and everyone
coming in has a chance. It’s the same situation at nationals.”