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Under 18 Wolves are howling ahead of Friday night’s home opener


DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard


A new night for their home games, at Scugog Arena, has brought renewed optimism for the Under-18 Central Ontario Wolves ‘AAA’ hockey team.

This Friday, October 6th, the Under-18 Wolves will host the Clarington Toros, at 8:15 p.m., for their home opener at Scugog Arena, to usher in a new era for the local ‘AAA’ squad.

Since 2016, the Under-18 Wolves have made their home in Port Perry, and, over that time, have become a proven pipeline for talent to higher levels of hockey. Under head coach Brad Bricknell, the team has graduated players to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), college hockey in the United States and Canada, as well as Junior ‘A’ hockey leagues across Canada, and closer to home in the Provincial Junior Hockey League (PJHL).

This weekend, the Wolves faced their first real test of the 2023-24 season, when they squared off against some of the top ‘AAA’ teams, from across North America, in the Toronto Titans Early Bird tournament. The Wolves split their round-robin games, dropping their opening two contests before rallying for a 4-2 win over Ottawa and a 6-0 shutout vs Sault Ste. Marie, to book their spot in the sweet sixteen elimination round.

A familiar foe awaited the Wolves in the sweet sixteen, the Markham Majors. Although they surrendered an early goal to Markham, Trent Nobes would reply for Central Ontario, and the two teams were all even, 1-1 at the end of the first period. The Wolves struck early in the second period, with Jace Lusted scoring an unassisted goal, just over a minute into the action, to push the Wolves ahead 2-1. However, it wouldn’t last, as Markham quickly replied to tie the score once again. However, with just over a minute remaining in the middle frame, Jordan Fitger connected on a great pass from Lusted, to put the Wolves ahead for good, as they dominated the defensive zone in the third period, to skate to a 3-2 victory and earn a spot in the quarterfinals. Jordan Walsh made several sensational saves in the third period, to seal the win for Central Ontario.

A match-up with the host Titans loomed in the quarterfinals, at historic Chesswood Arena, in Toronto. Although the Wolves battled throughout the game, they ultimately fell by a final score of 3-1, ending their tournament, in time for AJ Brennan to make his debut as a call-up player with his hometown Port Perry Lumberjacks, on Sunday afternoon.

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