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It’s officially hockey season, folks! The Whitecourt Wolverines kicked off the 2017/2018 season with a match-up against the Spruce Grove Saints on Friday night at the Scott Safety Centre. Pre-game, a tailgate barbecue fundraiser was held in the centre’s parking lot with all funds raised donated to Whitecourt Minor Hockey’s R&R Memorial Scholarship Fund.
A sign of a great crowd is a packed parking lot and vehicle-cluttered streets surrounding the arena, both of which were true for the September 15 affair. Well over 700 fans passed through the doors for the home opener making for a loud building.
The Wolverines had the most shots on goal in all three periods and, ultimately, the game with 40-31 in favour for the home team. After 40 minutes, both teams remained locked with one goal each with the Wolverines goal coming from Noah Tooke, on the penalty play in the first.
In the opening minute of the third, the Saints struck making it 2-1, but Wolverine Easton Haygarth quickly tied it forcing the season opener into extra time. Just over three minutes into the frame, Spruce Grove managed to squeeze one in past #39 Xavier Potvin, taking the game 3-2 in overtime.
Potvin, who was recently signed by the Wolverines on August 26, played his previous two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was ranked eighth among all goaltenders in the QMJHL thanks to his 2.82 goals against average last season. His father is ex-NHL goaltender Felix Potvin. Welcome to Whitecourt, Xavier!
The next home games for the Wolverines come on Tuesday, September 19 against the Drayton Valley Thunder and Tuesday, September 26 against the Bonnyville Pontiacs.