The Weyburn Red Wings’ (9-16-0-1) longest winning streak of the season ended Sunday night in a 4-3 shootout loss to the La Ronge Ice Wolves (12-17-0-3).
The Red Wings were riding a four-game winning streak into Sunday’s home contest, after beating the Humbolt Broncos 4-2 on Thursday at Crescent Point Place.
The Wings came out flat Sunday, allowing a sloppy goal 1:02 into the game by Graham Smerek, followed by a short-handed goal by Brett McNevin.
The Ice Wolves added another goal before the end of the first, after goaltender Jean-Philippe Boucher turned the puck over to Sebastien Beauregard, who put the puck into the empty cage. It was 3-0 for the Ice Wolves after the first frame.
The Wings awoke in the second after replacing Boucher with backup goaltender Nate Ferris. They scored back-to-back goals less than a minute apart from Ryan Cooper and Jayden Roosen, to cut the score to 3-2 heading into the third period.
In the third frame Josh Lees knotted the game up 3-3 with his third tally of the season.
Overtime decided nothing and the game went to a shootout, where Graham Smerek scored the lone goal, preventing the Wings from completing the comeback.
The Wings were clearly the better team in the second and third periods, outshooting the Wolves 30-16, but Wolves goaltender Myles Hovdebo stood on his head. The Wings on the other hand were fortunate, as the Wolves hit the post a handful of times in the game.
The shootout loss was the first time J-P Boucher had been pulled in his time with the Red Wings. Boucher has been solid for the Wings since arriving at the end of October, sitting in the middle of the pack with a .915 save-percentage and 2.72 goals-against-average.
In the Thursday 4-2 win over the Humboldt Broncos, the game was dominated by Sam Williams, who netted a hat-trick and scored two back-breaking goals in the third frame to secure the win.
The Wings have played the least games of any team in the SJHL and with their recent strong play have put themselves in a position to get into the playoffs and out of the league basement if they can continue to stay hot.
The team has seen their fortunes turn around after hiring alumnus Mark Schneider as an assistant coach. Schneider was a Red Wing for the first Royal Bank Cup Champion Red Wing squad in 1984.
“He has been able to take the burden off of Darcy (Pindus) and has really helped our players,” said, General Manager Ron Rumball.
Schneider has been working particularly with the defencemen, but has been attending all practices and been helping with game-planning.
The Wings added Ty Mclean for Sunday’s contest, after Mclean was cut from the Regina Pats. Mclean, a Redvers native, is a diminutive, fast centreman, who had one assist in 24 games with the Pats this season.
Injured, but expecting to be back for Tuesday’s game against Notre Dame, is Ryan Ostertag, who is dealing with a nagging groin injury.
The Red Wings have a busy week around the corner. This weekend they will be in Humboldt, Battleford and Kindersley.