Although their performance was much improved over the previous evening, the Lakehead Thunderwolves were edged 3-2 in overtime by the Western Mustangs in a goaltending duel at the Fort William Gardens on Saturday night.
To the delight of the 2,078 fans in attendance, the Wolves came out flying, firing 19 shots at Mustangs’ goalie Luke Peressini in the first period.
Lakehead’s Austin McDonald struck early by pouncing on a rebound just 2:11 into the fray, with Patrick Murphy and Devin Fullum getting the assists.
Western tied the game late in the period when Mitchell Brooks took advantage of a Lakehead turnover and fired a hard shot past Wolves’ netminder Devin Green low on the blocker side.
Brennen Dubchak regained the lead for Lakehead when he knocked a rebound behind Peressini at 14:47 of the second, with the helpers going to Jake Ringuette and Dillon Donnelly.
Anthony Stefano replied for Western with 1:37 to go in the middle frame, knotting the score at 2-2 heading into the third.
Neither side was able to convert in the third despite having plenty of chances, as they were all turned aside by the men between the pipes. Devin Green made two huge stops in the first half of the period, and Daniel Del Paggio and Grant Valiquette both missed golden opportunities for Lakehead in the latter stages.
The Mustangs controlled the play right off the hop in the short-lived overtime session, forcing Green to make three brilliant saves before Stefano beat him with a rocket high on the blocker side at the 1:19 mark.
Total shots on goal in the game were 42-37 for the Thunderwolves.
Neither team scored on the power play, with Western having just one attempt compared with Lakehead’s two.
The Molson Three Stars of the game were:
Devin Green, Lakehead
Luke Peressini, Western
Austin McDonald, Lakehead
The overtime loss gives the Wolves one point in the standings and puts Lakehead’s OUA record at 10-8-3, good for sixth place in the ten-team West Division.
The Thunderwolves will remain at home for a tussle with the York Lions next Friday and Saturday night at the Fort William Gardens.