The waiting game needs to end immediately.
If the Fort William First Nation Wolves are going to take a run at first place in the SIJHL, they’ll need to put the bite on the league-leading Borderland Thunder in a two-game series here tonight and tomorrow.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena for both games.
The Thunder (22-7-4-1) enjoy a six-point bulge over the second-place Wolves (17-14-4-4) heading into tonight’s game—and the schedule does not favour the Fort William squad.
Borderland has five games in hand over their closest pursuers, and have lost only once in five meetings with Fort William so far this season. But the Thunder hold just a slim 20-18 margin in goals scored between the two clubs.
The Wolves also have been snarly on the Thunder’s home ice. Their only previous visit here Nov. 15-16 yielded a 4-4 tie, followed by a 6-5 overtime win in a game that saw Borderland surrender a 5-1 second-period lead.
Fort William’s average of 4.48 goals per game is slightly better than the Thunder (4.44), but Borderland’s attention to defence has translated into allowing a league-low 105 goals—nearly a full goal per game less than the Wolves.
The visitors will be led on offence by the formidable trio of Spencer Bodnar (31 goals, 35 assists), Wes Thom (21/40), and Steve Atkins (29/25), who rank first, third, and sixth in the league in points, respectively.
Jean-Frederick Beaudoin’s 11 victories between the pipes is tied for first in the SIJHL. He also has logged the third-most minutes so far this season with 1,225.
Matt Johnson (seventh with 50 points) and A.J. Tucker (10th with 41) pace the Thunder attack, while Chad Baldwin carries a five-game point scoring streak into tonight’s contest.
Dan Hoehne (9-4, 2.52 goals against average) and Jamie Munro (8-2-1, 2.72 GAA) continue to offer the best one-two goaltending punch in the league.