The Waywayseecappo Wolverines come into Sunday nights contest against the Steinbach Pistons on a high from clinching a spot in the playoffs following a 4-2 win over the Virden Oil Capitals on Friday night.
It was a full sixty-minute team effort on Friday night that led the Wolverines over the Oil Capitals. Captain, Jake Bestul scored twice while Isaac LaBelle was superb in stopping 37 of 39 shots to pick up his 23rd win of the season.
The Run Down
Both the Waywayseecappo Wolverines and Steinbach Pistons have had quite the month of February in the win column. The Wolverines are fresh off their second straight win against a team above them in the standings which have both been solid team victories.
While the Wolverines have picked up seven wins in regulation in February, four of the Pistons seven victories came in either overtime or the shootout. Nonetheless, a 7-2-1-0 record for the Pistons in the month of February is impressive with being able to close out games in extra time.
Most recently, the Pistons are on the heels of a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Selkirk Steelers on Friday night in a game where the Steelers outshot the Pistons, 49-29.
So far in the season series, the Wolverines have gone 2-3-0-0 against the Pistons in which both victories came on the road at T.G. Smith Centre. The most recent win coming on January 25th when Isaac LaBelle stopped 33 of 35 shots to lead the Wolverines to a 4-2 victory.
With a win on Sunday night, Waywayseecappo can tie up the season series at three apiece.
Keys to the Game
Special teams will be key in this matchup, especially for the Wolverines. While their powerplay has struggled at times, both units have been snapping the puck around well as of late. Team discipline will be big for the Wolverines as the Pistons powerplay operates at just over 20%.
The MJHL’s two best penalty kill units will go head to head on Sunday night. While the Wolverines kill percentage of 85.4 is good enough for second in the league, Steinbach’s 86.9% conversion rate on the kill has them alone in first.
Waywayseecappo has been most successful this season when utilizing all four lines. It’s been evident over the last month and a bit when every line has been contributing, the Wolverines are winning.
News and Notes
With Nathan Reay making his first appearance in the Wolverines net since January 6, Isaac LaBelle will get some much-needed rest before the playoffs after starting seventeen straight games.
Jake Bestul continued his rapid scoring pace on Friday night as he picked up two goals to give him five goals and eight assists in his last nine contests.
Waywayseecappo secured the eighth and final playoff spot on Sunday, but the team can still catch the Dauphin Kings in seventh. Before Sunday’s game, the Wolverines sit three points back of the Kings with a game in hand. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility with four games to go.
You can watch tonights game on hockeytv.com or follow along on social media…
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