Lakehead set to host Lethbridge in season opener

Tue Sep 18, 2018
Written by John Payetta
Photo by James Mirabelli

The Lakehead Thunderwolves hockey team will begin its 2018-19 campaign with a two-game home series versus the Lethbridge Pronghorns of the Canada West Conference this weekend.  Game times are 7:00 pm at the Fort William Gardens on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Previous results

This will be Lakehead’s first home game since last February, when the Wolves won the first game of the OUA West Division quarter-finals over the York Lions in a triple-overtime thriller.  When the series shifted to York for games two and three, the Thunderwolves lost two straight and were knocked out of the playoffs.

Lethbridge narrowly missed out on post-season play last year, but the Pronghorns have already played a pair of non-conference games versus Red Deer College, winning both contests by scores of 4-2 and 5-3.

Series history

This weekend will mark the third time that Lethbridge has travelled to Thunder Bay, but Lakehead has yet to top the Pronghorns as the Wolves are 0-3-1 in those previous four meetings.

The most recent games between the two schools took place in September of 2016, with Lethbridge edging Lakehead by margins of 4-2 and 5-4.

Special guest Ron MacLean

Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean will be in town this weekend as part of Lakehead University’s homecoming festivities.  The HNIC host will receive an honorary degree from Lakehead on Saturday morning and later participate in a shinny game at the Gardens from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, with a regular Thunderwolves hockey game ticket required to watch.  MacLean will be also be on hand from 6:15 pm to 6:45 pm before the Wolves’ game to sign autographs and then perform the ceremonial pre-game puck drop.

Get there early

On Saturday evening, the first 1,000 fans through the doors will receive a free Sidney Crosby mini-stick and hockey ball, courtesy of Tim Hortons.

About the Pronghorns

Lethbridge will be led by Thunder Bay native Murray Nystrom in his first season as the Pronghorns’ bench boss after taking a year off from coaching.  Nystrom was previously the head coach of the Brock Badgers for 18 years.

Centre Justin Valentino is the Pronghorns’ top returning scoring threat, and defenceman Dallas Valentine contributes significantly to the offense as well.

Goaltender Garrett Hughson was the mainstay between the pipes for Lethbridge last season.