Coming off a 24 goal meltdown last weekend, the New England Black Wolves must have thought it was déjà vu all over again. Yes, that is a Yogi Berra quote. Vancouver scored two quick goals and New England found themselves fighting back from an early deficit yet again.
Black Wolves Head Coach Glenn Clark always talks about how this is a game of runs and his team certainly proved that on Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena. Early goals from the Stealth’s Joel McCready and Brandon Goodwin put the Black Wolves down, but they weren’t out of this one. New England answered the two goal deficit with six straight goals of their own including two inside the last minute of the 1st quarter.
“That’s what we were talking about on the bench. A run has got to come,” Clark said. “It is a game of runs. This game was a total game of runs. It was us, it was them, us, them, us. It was similar to the message I had after the Georgia game. You have got to keep it within reach. It was 9-6 and it feels like it was slipping away but if you can keep that margin manageable because we can score in bunches and we did just that.”
Vancouver responded with a seven goal run of their own, flipping the script on New England who saw their 6-2 advantage turn into a 9-6 as they opened the 4th quarter. That is when the Black Wolves offense woke up for one more run.
After a Kyle Buchanan power play goal brought New England back to within two, a mental mistake nearly cost them the game as they picked up a too many men penalty with 8:30 to play. New England played an aggressive penalty kill which saw them pick up six quality shots, including two goals in transition to tie the game at 9-9.
“You live and die by those,” Buchanan said. “If they don’t go in for us and they go back and score it’s a tough one. That was a big shot and a big goal there. It’s awesome that our guys have the confidence to have the green light and shoot that ball. It’s a buzzkill for them too and kills their momentum while we can kind of ride ours.”
Last week’s blowout loss in Saskatchewan was without three key players for New England. Veteran Kyle Buchanan missed the game due to the birth of his daughter but said that he did watch the difficult loss and it left him itching to help his team rebound. He did just that and finished with a game high three goals, while Adam Bomberry, who also missed last week, scored on a 2-on-1 in transition to put the Black Wolves on top for good with 5:51 remaining.
Following Bomberry’s go ahead goal the Stealth answered with heavy pressure as the swarmed Black Wolves’ goalie Aaron Bold. Looking to rebound from getting pulled last week against his old team, Bold stood tall to keep the game in New England’s grasp down the stretch. Bold made 38 saves on the night, none bigger than in the two minutes following Bomberry’s goal when he made three huge stops from in close to preserve the lead. Bold also assisted on two important goals down the stretch, including the game winner.
New England added three more goals to complete Coach Clark’s first three game sequence of the season with a 2-1 record. Shawn Evans led the Black Wolves with four points (2G, 2A) while Kyle Buchanan (3G), Kevin Crowley (2G, 1A), Reilly O’Connor (2G,1A), Stephan Leblanc (3A), and Colton Watkinson (1G, 2A) all contributed three points each. In total, eight different Black Wolves scored a goal and 14 of the 18 players picked up at least a point.
For Vancouver, Brandon Goodwin (2G, 3A) and Joel McCready (2G, 1A) led the way. Brodie MacDonald stopped nine of 14 shots before leaving the game with an injury less than two minutes into the 2nd quarter. Tye Belanger stopped 28 of 34 shots in relief.
The Black Wolves now have a two week layoff before getting back into action on January 13, 2018 on the road in Rochester against the East leading, Knighthawks. New England will be back home on January 21st as the complete a home-and-home with Rochester.