Colin Bradbury of the Renfrew Timberwolves walks in on Almonte Thunder netminder Dominic Plaschy during the game-deciding shootout at the Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre Friday night. Bradbury scored, but it was a Scott Conroy marker during the fourth series of penalty shots that gave Renfrew a crucial 4-3 triumph.
Peter Clark, Renfrew Mercury
It wasn’t a work of art. Then again, it didn’t have to be.
The object for the Renfrew Timberwolves Friday night was to widen the gap between themselves and the team trying to catch them for the final playoff berth in the Valley Division of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
It took awhile, but the Wolves finally subdued the visiting Almonte Thunder 4-3 at the Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre.
Five minutes of overtime couldn’t do the trick, but four rounds in the shootout did.
Wolves 4, Almonte 3 (SO)
Colin Bradbury scored on Renfrew’s first shot, but it was Scott Conroy’s marker against Thunder netminder Dominic Plaschy during the fourth set of penalty shots that sent the Wolves off the bench with the crucial victory.
Wolves netminder Matt Schroeder stopped three of four Almonte shooters, including Terry Mallon to preserve the victory. The Wolves netminder also turned back former Wolf Patrick Dick in the shootout.
Schroeder was brilliant at times, and a rebound stop off Garrett Nichol in overtime left the Thunder forward looking to the heavens, and the crowd buzzing.
Also rising to the occasion was the Wolves’ Tanner Smith. The centre pocketed all three Renfrew goals in regulation time, continually pulling them back from deficits.
Smith’s first goal in the middle stanza cut a 2-0 lead Almonte had built up in the opening period in half.
Smith tied the game 2-2 on a powerplay early in the third period, and later 3-3 with 11:48 remaining. Conroy added three assists and defenceman Dylan Zavitske two.
The Wolves had a chance to win the game outright, but failed to convert a two-man advantage for a 1:02 span.
They, in turn, killed off an Almonte powerplay late in the third period.
The Wolves have local businesses, etc. sponsor their home games.
Friday night’s first period sponsor could have been Sominex. After Smith scored halfway through the second, things began to spruce up.
The Wolves might have been in better shape than down 2-1 after two periods. They solved Plaschy a couple of times, but were beaten by the goalpost.
For a team struggling to score goals of late, Smith has been able to bridge the gap.
Excluding shootouts, he has Renfrew’s last five goals.
Nine points have been distributed in the standings over the three Renfrew-Almonte meetings this year as all three have gone past 60 minutes. The Wolves are 2-and-1 in these games and 3-and-2 in extra-time games overall.
Whether the Wolves are in second, third or fourth place at any given time changes like the weather.
The Renfrew OPP had an exhibit set up during the game, reminding people of safety throughout the holidays.
Coach and general manager Brent Sylvester viewed the game from elsewhere. He was handed a one-game suspension following a game misconduct in Metcalfe the week before.
Casey Doner and referee Bruce Gray didn’t see eye-to-eye on a few things Friday night, and it led to the Timberwolf getting an early exit in overtime.
The Wolves host the Stittsville Royals Friday at 8 p.m. It’s Renfrew’s last pre-Christmas home game. It is also the Wolves annual Christmas turkey night with 10 birds drawn for throughout the game.
The Wolves are in Almonte Saturday at 7:30 p.m.