Tension rises late, Red Wings cruise by Timberwolves

Red Wings defence Connor McCluskey dodges Timberwolves left wing Kennedy Gallant at the Grant Harvey Centre on Nov. 6. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

The whistle blew and the crowd’s attention turned to the Fredericton Red Wings’ defensive end. Tension flared as players and referees stumbled to the ground. The Miramichi Timberwolves lost their cool after a long night of the Red Wings exposing their defence with their speed, beating their opponents to almost every loose puck in the corners. Punches were thrown as the crowd’s cheers got louder.

It gave the Red Wings a 10-minute powerplay to expand on a six goal lead. Fredericton took the game, 8-1, scoring once on the long power play.

“You have to be mentally tough between your ears in a situation like that,” said Brian Casey, head coach of the Red Wings. “It’s common in hockey when [the losing team] is trying to look for a spark, maybe to bring something into their game the next night. But for us, we really emphasize discipline.”

The Red Wings got off to an early start. Three minutes in, Colin Parker found the back of the net for the first time this season off of a pass from Kenzie MacKinnon. Fredericton scored twice more in the period, capitalizing on rebound opportunities before the Timberwolves netted their lone goal, beating goaltender Morgan Kini off a cross-crease pass.

Casey said his team’s fast start propelled them to the victory.

“I was really pleased with how we put the pucks to the net and that we got bodies there. We got rewarded for that,” he said. “It was one of those nights where we’re getting the back of the net.”

The Red Wings kept up their intense pressure in the second period. They used their speed to their advantage, often dumping in the puck and getting physical in the corners of the offensive zone. Nick Ahern put Fredericton back on the scoring craze less than a minute into the period, slipping it past the pads of the Timberwolves netminder. Zach Alchorn netted his second goal of the night four minutes into the second period, two minutes after Sasha Charbonneau scored. The Red Wings scored three times in five minutes.

Zach Alchorn, left, scored his first two goals of the season for the Fredericton Red Wings on Friday night. (Billy Cole/AQ)

Fredericton’s high scoring game slowed down in the final period, with the physicality starting to pick up. The third period consisted of Red Wings fending off the high tempered Timberwolves.

“It’s just one of those things [the Timberwolves] team likes to do, they can’t keep their cool,” Alchorn said in response to Miramichi’s late-game style.

“We know we got to keep our heads in it … and keep playing the way we were.”

The Red Wings won the game 8-1 while Morgan Kini stopped 35 of 36 shots. Alchorn had two goals while Charbonneau had a goal of his own and two assists. Alex Pellerin had three assists.