By Josh Howald
Only one team could be perfect following Saturday night’s game, and not many thought it would be the Ripley Wolves.
It was actually the second loss in as many nights for the defending AA champions, who only dropped one regular season game all last season. Friday night, the Minto-Mapleton 81’s pulled off a 2-1 shocker over the Winterhawks and Saturday, it was Ripley’s turn.
The teams traded first period goals, with Ryan Armstrong doing the damage for Ripley and Ryan Dudgeon scoring for the visitors. Derek Regier and Paul Stewart assisted on Armstrong’s second goal of the season.
Saugeen Shores was penalized for having too many players on the ice in the second period, and the Wolves made them pay. Brian Stanley made a nice play to hold the blue line, and then fired a wrist shot through traffic that went off the post and in, giving Ripley a 2-1 lead. Curt Robinson assisted on the goal, the only one of the middle stanza.
Nick Locking sent Travis Van Gaver in alone on a breakaway in the third, and Van Gaver made no mistake to stretch the Ripley lead to 3-1. Locking and Van Gaver played on a line with Andy Cline, who signed with the Wolves prior to the game. Cline was captain of the Walkerton Capitals last season, and one of the off-season’s most sought after players.
Brian Kazarian made things interesting with a power play goal with eight minutes remaining, but Kurt Edwards was steady down the stretch in goal. Edwards made 45 saves in this contest, including several with the Saugeen Shores net empty for an extra attacker.
As the buzzer sounded to end this one, Locking fired a puck into the empty net to make it a 4-2 final.
While Saugeen Shores played shorthanded, the Wolves were also without captain Jeremy McQuillin and defenceman Tyler deVos.
Ripley will now have a rare week off, and won’t play again until Nov. 2. That game will be in Shelburne, a rematch of last year’s six-game playoff series won by the Muskies. The Wolves return home Nov. 3 to face the Elora Rocks at 7:30 p.m. That game against the Rocks is Minor Hockey Night, when youths get free admission by wearing their team jersey. The game is sponsored by the Ripley Legion.
Elsewhere around the WOAA North Division on the weekend, the Durham Thundercats also knocked off the Elora Rocks and are the only other team still undefeated (2-0). The Rocks rebounded with a 17-4 drubbing of Lucknow, who was also shut out by Shallow Lake 5-0 Friday. The Muskies edged out Minto-Mapleton 7-6 on Friday.
In the WOAA South Division, Clinton beat Tavistock 4-3 and Milverton 6-3, Tillsonburg hammered Goderich 12-2 before being edged out by Petrolia 4-3. Milverton needed OT to beat Petrolia 6-5, while Monkton lost to Komoka 8-4 and Thedford 4-3. Tavistock defeated Thedford 9-5.
- With files from Dwight Irwin