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Wolverines Explode into MJHL’s Top Spot
Waywayseecappo Wolverines, Posted on October 9, 2018

Editor's note: We unfortunately were unable to get this into our Oct. 9 edition of The Russell Banner, but here is an article we felt was still important to get out there for our readers!

By Derek Holtom

The wins kept coming for the Waywayseecappo Wolverines last week, a story which has drawn tremendous interest from around the league. The Wolverines have had some hard-working teams in the past, but a 5-0 start is unprecedented. Head coach and general manager Taylor Harnett is keenly aware of all this, and has been quick to stress that this strong start does not mean there isn’t room for improvement from his team.

“This is something that has been brought to our attention by different media sources,” said Harnett. “But our short-term goal right now is to take it one game at a time.

“We know teams are going to prepare for us, but our identity is that we’re a hard-working team, and that’s tough to defend against no matter how hard they prepare for us.”

Harnett said each game provides adverse situations for the team to manage, adding he doesn’t feel the team has yet to achieve a ‘perfect’ game.

“We know adversity is something you face every game whether you win or you don’t,” he said. “You might have a bad period. That would be adversity. And that’s how we’re managing our highs and our lows –we want to play a 60-minute game, and we haven’t felt that we have done that in our first four wins.”

Wolverines 3, Oil Capitals 2 (SO)

Wayway faced their toughest challenge yet last Thursday (Oct. 4), as they required a shootout to earn their fifth victory in five starts on the road in Virden.

Trygve Many Guns, only recently traded to the Wolverines from the OCN Blizzard, scored on the third shootout attempt for the Wolverines. Coupled with Isaac Labelle’s perfect 3-for-3 goaltending, the Wolverines were able to escape with a narrow 3-2 victory.

The shootout was required after the two teams traded goals in the second and third periods. There was no scoring in the opening frame before the hometown Oil Capitals got on the board first. Josh Belcher scored short-handed 2:22 into the second period to put Virden up 1-0.

Wayway tied the game soon after, as Brady Pupp scored on the power-play at the 4:03 mark, making that power-play a bit of a wash for both teams.

The Wolverines took the lead 7:26 into the third as Many Guns scored his first as a member of the Wolverines, helping him earn the first-star honours. The Oil Capitals tied the game at the 11:08 mark as Tristan Thompson scored his second of the year, ensuring the home squad earned at least a point.

Both netminders were sharp in this contest. Labelle made 28 saves in 65 minutes of work, while Virden’s Riley Wallace made 26 while taking the loss.

Each team scored once on the power-play – Virden had five chances to Wayway’s four.

Wolverines 4, Oil Capitals 1

It was a perfect 4-for-4 in September for the Waywayseecappo Wolverines as they ended the month in style and in first place overall thanks to a 4-1 triumph over the Virden Oil Capitals at home on Sept. 29.

It was special teams that made the difference in this contest as the Wolverines scored twice while short-handed – one by Xavier Halterman, and the second by Brandon Lawson (his third goal of the year).

Also denting the twine for the home team was Brady Pupp via the power play.

“Special teams were a big difference in the game – our penalty kill was outstanding,” said Harnett. “But short-handed goals, it’s not something you practice. That’s just speed from our guys.”

The only even-strength goal by the Wolverines came off the stick of Morgan Poirier.

Countering for the visitors was Kolten Kanaski.

The Wolverines led by period scores of 2-0 and 2-1. They pulled away early in the third, with Lawson’s short-handed marker coming just 30 seconds into the period.

Isaac Labelle made 29 saves to earn the win for the Wolverines, while Dalton Dosch kicked out just 16 saves in a losing effort for the Oil Capitals.

“Isaac has stepped in and taken that No. 1 job, and he’s run with it to start the season,” said Harnett. “He also has a good group of players around him, so that maybe takes some of the weight off his shoulders and lets him focus on stopping the puck. And he has come up with some big saves in every game we’ve had.”

The Oil Capitals went 0-7 with the man advantage, with two short-handed goals against in a miserable night for their power-play. The Wolverines scored once on four chances.

CLAW MARKS – Wayway hosted Virden and Selkirk on Friday and Saturday. Look for a report on those games in next week’s paper. They end a three-game home stand Wednesday (Oct. 10) when they host the Winnipeg Blues. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the Waywayseecappo Arena Complex. From there the Wolverines head out on the road, playing Friday in Winkler, Saturday in Selkirk, and Sunday in Winnipeg … Trygve Many Guns came to the Wolverines from OCN. Going the other way was forward James Maxwell and the MJHL list rights to forward Keenan McPherson, who played with the Interlake Lightning for the past two seasons … Drew Anderson is the RBC MJHL player of the month for September.