The Lakehead Thunderwolves treated the 1,844 fans at the Fort William Gardens to one of the best games of the season, coming from behind twice to defeat the Windsor Lancers 5-4 in overtime on Saturday night.
Although the Wolves come out strong right from the opening face-off, Windsor struck twice midway through the first period to stake the Lancers to the early lead.
Adam Burnett fired a one-timer past Lakehead goalie Devin Green high on the blocker side on a Windsor power play at 10:11, and Ian Parker finished off an odd-man rush at 11:34 to put the Lancers up 2-0 heading into the second.
Jake Ringuette beat Lancers’ netminder Jonathan Reinhart 6:36 into the middle frame while the Wolves were short-handed to narrow the gap to 2-1, with the helpers going to Devin Fullum and Austin McDonald.
Lakehead’s Billy Jenkins was hauled down on a breakaway an awarded a penalty shot a few minutes later, but was thwarted by Reinhart who made plenty of big saves throughout the contest.
Brennen Dubchak evened the score with 1:45 left in the second stanza by knocking home a rebound from the edge of the crease while the Wolves held the man-advantage, with Ringuette and Dillon Donnelly getting the assists.
Cooper Leitch gave the Wolves their first lead of the game with a wrister that handcuffed Reinhart and slipped between his glove and pads 7:19 into the third, with Callum Fryer and Joseph Leonidas assisting.
Despite being outplayed at this point, Windsor stole Lakehead’s momentum with a pair of quick goals. Alex Friesen got the first one at 11:33, and Brennan Feasey rifled a screened shot past Green on the power play less than three minutes later to put the Lancers back in front 4-3.
Lakehead pulled Green for an extra attacker with 1:30 showing on the clock and the Wolves swarmed the Windsor zone, getting several good scoring chances. It looked like time would run out until Dubchak fed Donnelly who charged in on the right side and fired a hard shot that Reinhart stopped, but Billy Jenkins swatted the rebound into the back of the net with just 10 seconds to go, sending the game into overtime.
Windsor’s Justice Dundas crashed into the Lakehead net and was called for goaltender interference 1:34 into the extra session, giving the Wolves a four-on-three power play.
Lakehead turned that advantage into a flurry of activity around the Windsor goal, and Dylan Butler slammed the puck home from close range with Matt Alexander and Ringuette assisting, giving the Thunderwolves the victory.
The win improves Lakehead’s OUA record to 8-8-1 (11-11-1 overall), and moves the Wolves up one notch into sixth-place in the West Division.
Total shots on goal in the game were 47-26 for the Thunderwolves.
Lakehead went 2-for-4 on the power play on the night, while Windsor was 2-for-3.
The Molson Three Stars of the game were:
1. Jake Ringuette, Lakehead
2. Brennen Dubchak, Lakehead
3. Billy Jennkins, Lakehead
The Thunderwolves be on the road next weekend to take on the York Lions Friday night before travelling to Guelph for a clash with the Gryphons the following evening.