Weekend split for Wolves

Ripley dumps Cents in home opener

By Josh Howald

The refurbished Ripley Wolves looked good on the weekend, winning a Saturday night home opener to capture a weekend split in WOAA Senior AA hockey action.

That leaves the Wolves tied for second place with four other teams in this extremely young season with a 2-1 record. After beating Saugeen Shores 2-1 in the season opener, the Wolves were in Clinton Friday night to face the defending champion Radars.

Like the Wolves, the Radars were busy stockpiling talent over the offseason. An already deep roster is now dotted with a half dozen more players who have major junior, CIS or professional hockey experience. After Clinton defeated Dundas of the OHA Senior AAA League in a preseason exhibition, the Wolves knew this would be a huge test.

Head coach Dustin Catto said goaltender Jason Hamilton was terrific, but his team could get nothing going offensively in a 4-0 loss to the Radars. Clinton scored three times in the second period and added an empty net goal with 37 seconds remaining. Zach Graham, Kurtis Bartliff and Sean Consitt had the second period goals and Ryan Murphy scored with Hamilton on the bench in favour of an extra attacker.

There was no shortage of goals on Saturday night, however. The Wolves and Huron East Centennaires did their best to wear out the goal lights in the village at the Wolves home opener. Ripley trailed 2-1 after the first period, but jumped in front with four goals in the middle frame. They eventually sealed this one up with an empty net goal with less than 30 seconds remaining to make it a 7-4 final.

Brent Walton and Jeff Alcombrack both suited up for the Wolves Saturday night. Both have been skating with the team, as well as helping Catto behind the bench. Both former pros have had health issues (knee and hips, respectively) but played well against Huron East. Walton had a four-point night, scoring twice and setting up two others. He showed great patience on the second goal, outwaiting the Huron East goaltender before easily flipping the puck into the net. Alcombrack, meanwhile, had an assist on Cody Britton's game-winning goal. Britton also had four points with two goals and two assists. Patrick Wiejak, Brett Catto and Ben Scheel each scored once for Ripley. Catto added two helpers. Single assists went to Tyler McCarthy, Gerrit Satosek, Blair Pollock and Tyson Soers.

Tyler Panzi, Adam Corbett, Dalton Ford and Reid Smith countered for Huron East, who arrived for this game with just 14 players.

Kurt Edwards got his first start of the season in goal for Ripley. He made 26 saves for the win. Al Hitchenson stopped 26 shots and it tagged with the loss.

The Wolves will be on the road this weekend. Ripley will travel to Petrolia to face the Squires at 8:30 p.m. It is Ripley's only game of the weekend. Then, Nov. 3, the Wolves will head to Shallow Lake to take on the Crushers. Next home game for the Wolves is Nov. 4 against the always strong Tavistock Royals.

WOLF BITES: Dennis Burrows has joined the Wolves as an assistant coach...The Wolves were missing several regulars Saturday night because of a wedding in Niagara Falls...Next home game Nov. 4 is also Meet the Wolves Night. Children are invited to come out to the game and meet the players.