Talking Hockey History With Dr. Mike Commito

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with hockey historian Dr. Mike Commito.

Commito is the team historian for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and he writes for the LA Kings. In addition, he wrote the book, Hockey 365: Daily Stories from the Ice, which looks at historical moments for every day of the year. He’s also the Director of Applied Research & Innovation at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario.

In my interview with Commito, we looked at his experiences with the Wolves, the Kings and some of the work that he’s completed for various publications including VICE Sports and Sportsnet.

Sudbury Wolves

Josh: In May 2018, you were named Team Historian of the Sudbury Wolves. In terms of your role with the Wolves, what are some of the projects that you work on as a Historian?

Mike: In my role as Team Historian my duty is to make the club’s history accessible and engaging for the fans. Chiefly, I write articles profiling former players or interesting traditions the team has. In the year that I’ve been in this role I have written 19 stories that have ranged from player features to the history behind the stuffed wolf the club uses to celebrate goals. As much as the history remains my focus, the team has been great in letting me explore a range of topics that has included some work on current players and even their mothers for a special Mother’s Day piece we have in the works.

Josh: Do you tend to focus one or two particular decades of Wolves’ history? Or is your work more spread out?

Mike: The Wolves have been in the OHL since 1972 so I try to focus my efforts across the board. I believe that my role as Team Historian is to bridge the gap between the generations of fans the club has. When you go to the Sudbury Community Arena you could encounter a fan who has memories of Mike Foligno sitting next to their son or daughter, who may have watched Jamie Rivers in the ‘90s and are now taking their kid to a Wolves game to watch Quinton Byfield. That’s three generations of Wolves fans watching a game, so I try to highlight the history across those eras and make it accessible and engaging for all the fans. We’ve done a lot of work highlighting the high-flying teams in the 1970s, but I’ve also had the opportunity to profile players and moments from the ‘80s and ‘90s, along with more recent history such as the Wolves’ 2007 playoff run.

Josh: Who was your favourite all-time Sudbury Wolves player?

Mike: I moved to Sudbury when I was 15 years old so I never had a favourite Wolves player growing up, but my favourite moment with the team was during the 2007 run to the OHL championship final. The town was electric in that deep playoff run. All of the games were sold out and my buddies and I could only manage to get Standing Room Only tickets, which were two or three rows deep around the railing at the top of the arena. When the Wolves skated out onto the ice before a game you could feel the electricity coursing through the building. It was vibrating. To this day I have never experienced a live sporting atmosphere quite like playoff hockey at the old Elgin barn in 2007.

Historian Work Outside Of The Wolves 

Josh: For your historian work, do you tend to focus just on the NHL? Or do you look at other leagues across the globe?

Mike: Before I got into hockey history, I actually researched the history of black bear hunting and management in Ontario for my PhD in environmental history, which is to say that I think I have a pretty unique way of looking at history because I’ve studied it from different perspectives. For the most part, a lot of my work right now focuses on the NHL because of my work with the Kings and my role with the Wolves has really shifted my interest in junior hockey. That being said, I don’t necessarily restrict myself to just researching stories from the NHL. When I was writing for VICE Sports I had the opportunity to write some stories about international hockey and Slap Shot, and a few years ago I got to highlight some of Kenora, Ontario’s rich hockey history for Sportsnet. If it’s an interesting, bizarre or funny moment in hockey history, I’m all over it.

Josh: From your research, which were your favourite players to look at?

Mike: I’ve had the opportunity to research a lot of players in my hockey writing career. My book Hockey 365 has 365 different hockey history stories, one for every day of the year, so there were a lot of different players that came up during the course of the research, but those were short stories so I didn’t get to get too in-depth. My favourite players to look at or research usually end up being great interviews for one reason or another. The first real hockey interview I did was with Darryl Sittler for the 40th anniversary of his 10-point. As a Leafs fan, it was a real treat to talk with Darryl but it was great to talk with him about his incredible 1975-76 season, which included that 10-point game, a 5-goal game in the playoffs, and winning the Canada Cup. My favourite part about talking to him though was learning that he ate Swiss Chalet the afternoon before the game, which was a changeup from his usual gameday routine. Who knows, maybe that’s why he scored 10 points that night. So whether it’s a player I’m really familiar with or someone I’m interviewing for the first time, my favourite ones always end up the ones in which you learn something you didn’t already know in your research or they share a story with you that you otherwise wouldn’t have known.

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LA Kings

Josh: You write quite a bit of content on the LA Kings, what has been your favourite post to write on them?

Mike: My Wayne Gretzky story, hands down. Gretzky doesn’t do a lot of interviews these days so when the Kings and I lined up an interview with him for the 25th anniversary of when he passed Gordie Howe for the all-time goal-scoring record we were ecstatic. Talking to the Great One was a surreal experience. It really made me realize how incredible my hockey journey has been so far. It was not that long ago I was just trying to break into the hockey world by blogging and carving a place out for myself on Twitter to taking Wayne Gretzky’s phone call in my office. Definitely my highlight of the season. What didn’t make it into the Kings story was that I actually missed Gretzky’s first call because I was in the middle of a work meeting. Thankfully we did end up connecting later in the day and I ended up writing another story for the Globe and Mail about how I screened the Great One’s call.

http://gty.im/628733112

Josh: Which era of Kings hockey do you enjoy analyzing the most?

Mike: Honestly, if I can find an interesting or funny story regardless of the era I’ll pitch it to the Kings and they’re pretty great at letting me run wild with some of those ideas. This past season I’ve written 12 stories for the team that have ranged from some stories from the 1970s all the way up to more current profiles of members of the coaching staff like Marco Sturm. Obviously the ‘90s resonates for me because that’s when I would have grown up watching hockey. Even though I wasn’t a Kings fan as a kid, I still remember Gretzky’s LA era, especially the 1993 series against the Leafs but let’s not get into that.

Writing Career

Josh: Do you have any advice for Puck77 readers who are interested in writing for a team like the Kings one day?

Mike: Just keep at it. Persistence pays off. My passion is writing about hockey and I continue to work hard at it daily. Even though I have had some highlight moments this past year with my writing, I know that I can’t rest on those achievements and need to keep finding creative ways to bring the game’s history to life. I think the other thing I would say to aspiring writers is market yourself as broadly as you can. This is something my former supervisor always stressed to me. Although I was building up my skills as a historian, he knew that I had marketable skills in communication, research and writing that could be applied to other areas. The same goes for writing. I may be a hockey historian now but I try to take the research and writing skills I have and apply them to a variety of topics. It helps you shake things up and helps you showcase your range.

Thank You Mike

Thank you Mike for taking the time to speak with me. I look forward to interviewing you again in the future.

Follow Mike Commito on Twitter (@MikeCommito). Check out his work for the Sudbury Wolves and the Los Angeles Kings.

OHL Playoffs: Second Round Preview

OHL Playoffs: Second Round Preview

As the first round wraps up, there were not too many surprises coming out of the Ontario Hockey League, as all of the higher seeds won their series. This leads to some very interesting matchups between the best teams in their respective conferences. While the upsets in this round may not be as mind-blowing, the lower-seeds in these series could cause a stir, with hopes of making it to the conference finals.

Eastern Conference  

(1) Ottawa 67’s vs. (4) Sudbury Wolves

The 67’s made quick and easy work of the Hamilton Bulldogs, sweeping last year’s J. Ross Robertson Cup Champions in four games. Eight Ottawa players averaged a point a game against Hamilton, including Sasha Chmelevski and Lucas Chiodo, who each led the 67’s with seven points. Graeme Clarke was on fire for Ottawa in their opening round. Despite only scoring 23 goals in the entire regular series, the homegrown talent exploded for five in the first two games of the series, including a hat trick in game two.

The Wolves had similar depth scoring compared to their second round opponents, with six players scoring four points in their first round sweep over Mississauga. Rookie Quinton Byfield picked up right where he left off in the regular season, scoring three goals and four assists in the first round. Nolan Hutcheson was also impressive against the Steelheads. With an assist in each of the final three games of the series, the Kingston-native started the series with a bang, scoring a hat trick in game one.

Despite solid scoring from both teams, this series is all about the goaltenders. In a rematch of the World Junior Championship Quarterfinals, two of the best goaltenders in the entire CHL go head-to-head once again, as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen faces off against Michael DiPietro. DiPietro did not face a whole lot of action against the Bulldogs, facing only 95 shots, while Luukkonen was stellar in his first round, only giving up eight goals on 147 shots. There is no question, which ever goaltender plays the best will help his team win the series.

My Pick

In January, it was Luukkonen who came out on top on Finland’s way to the gold. This time, DiPietro’s club will catch the breaks they need, and the 67’s will win the series in seven. 

(2) Niagara IceDogs vs. (3) Oshawa Generals

The IceDogs’ daunted offence was alive and well in the first round, outscoring North Bay 19-8 in the five-game series. Jack Studnicka was the leader of the attack for Niagara, scoring four goals and four assists in the five games. Philip Tomasino was also impressive, scoring six points against the Battalion. The star of the series was Stephen Dhillon. The Buffalo native gave up four goals in game two in his lone defeat in the series, but that was it. Dhillon had three shutouts in the series, including a 27-save performance in game five.

The Generals come in after a five-game series of their own, as they took care of the Peterborough Petes in round one. Anthony Salinitri was exceptional, leading the Gennies with eight points, including the game-winning goal in game five. Brandon Saigeon was the same playmaker Oshawa fans saw in the regular season, with six assists in the five games. Kyle Keyser played well in net for the Generals, only giving up nine goals on 172 shots in the series.

These two teams have not played often this season, as the two only met twice during the regular season. Each team won the game they hosted, with the Generals winning in overtime back in mid-November. It could be a low-scoring matchup with Keyser and Dhillon manning the crease. With goals hard to come by, power play chances cannot be wasted, and the IceDogs have the better PP heading into the series with a 26.9% success rate. 

My Pick

The offencive weapons on Niagara’s roster will be too much, IceDogs win in six.

Western Conference

(1) London Knights vs. (4) Guelph Storm

The Storm cruised through their first round contests against Kitchener, sweeping the Rangers. Anthony Popovich was solid in net for Guelph, only giving up six goals in his four wins. Eight players all averaged at least one point per game in the series, including the returning Sean Durzi. While his health has been in question heading into the playoffs, the LA prospect was solid on the blueline, with +5 rating and five assists. Nate Schnarr continued to look impressive in the first round, scoring 10 points, second among all forwards. 

London had an easy first round as well, as they waltzed passed Windsor in a four-game sweep. Once again, defencemen Evan Bouchard and Adam Boqvist were offencive catalysts for the Knights. Bouchard’s two goals and eight assists were second among all OHLers in the first round, while Boqvist’s six goals was the most among any player in the first round, four of which coming on the power play. The big story was Alex Formenton’s 11 points in the first round, with nine of them being assists.

This matchup is certain to have a flair for the dramatic. Two very good offencive attacks, with the Knights arguably having the better d-core compared to their counterparts. With the possibility of a high-scoring series, it may come down to the goaltending to determine who wins this series. As stated earlier, Popovich was even keel against the Rangers, while London’s Jordan Kooy faced the least amount of shots in the first round, but gave up eight goals against Windsor. Guelph won four of the six matchups this season, including a pair at the Budweiser Gardens.

My Pick

Despite Guelph having more depth scoring than the Knights, Bouchard and Fromenton are certain game-changers for London. It will be close, but I have the Knights in seven.

(2) Saginaw Spirit vs. (3) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Despite Sarnia making one last stand in game four, the Spirit finished off the Sting in style, with Blade Jenkins scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to complete the four-game sweep. Saginaw made quick work in the first round with help of deadline acquisition of Owen Tippet, whose five goals were the second-most in the first round. Brady Gilmour had an exceptional series against the Sting, with six assists, including two in the series-clinching game.

The Greyhounds were caught off guard in the their opening round series against Owen Sound. The Attack stunned the Soo in game one, winning in overtime. The following four games saw the Greyhounds take their opponent much more seriously, winning the next four games by a 12-goal margin. Morgan Frost was solid, as per usual, scoring nine points. Barrett Hayton led the Greyhounds in the series with 10 points, and Keeghan Howdeshell stepped up, scoring five goals in the four game series.

Looking at the season series, you would think this matchup would be tight, with each team having four wins apiece. However, the games have not been that close, as the Greyhounds win over the Spirit back on March 14th was the only one-goal game between the two this season. The series could go either way, and with it being the playoffs, you could expect the games to be much closer. Neither Ivan Prosvetov nor Matthew Villalta were impressive in net, however one of them will have to step up against these two exceptional offences.

My Pick

In another offencive display, Tippet and the gang will take over the series, Spirit in six.

All statistics and records from the OHL and Elite Prospects.

OHL Playoffs: Eastern Conference First Round Preview

OHL Playoffs: Eastern Conference First Round Preview

After 68 games, it is time for the toughest part of the season to begin. No more standings watching, it is time to get down to business. The playoffs are here. In the Eastern Conference, the top-four certainly separated themselves from the bottom half of the conference, however that does not mean there may be some tight matchups in the first round.

(1) Ottawa 67’s vs. (8) Hamilton Bulldogs

Last year’s J. Ross Robertson Cup Champs, and Memorial Cup runner-up, the Bulldogs have certainly fell off the top of the mountain this season. With graduating players, and trading away star players such as Mackenzie Entwistle, the Bulldogs finished under. 500 for the first time since 2016. Yet, they worked their way into the playoffs thanks to the help of leading-scorer Arthur Kailyev, whose 102 points were tied for sixth in OHL scoring, and his 51 goals were fourth in the league. 

What is there to say about the 67’s that has not already been said? Very deep team at both ends of the rink. Tye Felhaber finished tied for third in league scoring with 109 points, and second in goals with 59. Defencively this team has been dominant as well, giving up a league-low of 183 goals, and the top-six players in the league in plus/minus are all from Ottawa….it certainly helps that Michael DiPietro and Cedrick Andree have been backstopping the 67’s this season.

Most certainly this matchup on paper does not look in favour of the lower-seeded Bulldogs, especially since the 67’s handled Hamilton all season, winning the six meetings between the two in convincing fashion. Outside of Kailyev and Matthew Strome, the Bulldog offence is extremely shallow, and with Felhaber and Austen Keating leading a four-line offencive attack, Ottawa is very capable of coasting through this series.

My Pick

Hamilton should be able to pick up a win on home ice, but I have the 67’s in five.

(2) Niagara Ice Dogs vs. (7) North Bay Battalion

Another matchup with an extremely offencively gifted club. The Ice Dogs have the deepest offence, not just in the OHL, but in the CHL. Niagara finished the season with three 100+ point players, including Akil Thomas and Ben Jones who each had 102 points. Jason Robertson won the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy for leading scorer as he put up 117 points this season, more than any other player in the CHL.

North Bay really had to work to earn a spot in the postseason. After losing six-straight at the end of February and early March, the Battalion won three in a row to earn their second straight playoff appearance. There success in thanks in large part to their top gun, Justin Brazeau. Brazeau finished second being Robertson in league scoring with 113 points (fourth in the CHL), and his 61 goals were more than any other player in the CHL. He has been a beast from the start of the season, and ended strong as well, amassing 20 points in the final 10 games of the season.

Despite Brazeau’s impressive numbers, that is all the Batallion have to go on in this series. Niagara just has too much scoring, and a much better goaltender in Stephen Dhillon. With the Ice Dogs having one of the best defence cores in the league as well, it will be extremely tough to see if Brazeau has any time to make plays. North Bay was able to pick up a couple wins over Niagara back in November, which may have led Niagara GM Joey Burke to acquire Robertson just over a week later.

My Pick

Too much offence for one team to handle, Niagara in five.

(3) Oshawa Generals vs. (6) Peterborough Petes

Of the lower seeds in the Eastern Conference, Peterborough may be one of the better teams in this first round. Also, they are one of the hottest teams in the league as well, winning seven of their last 10 games, including a win and overtime loss to Ottawa just last weekend. Jason Robertson’s brother, Nick Robertson has been solid for the Petes this season, as he is the team’s second-leading scorer with 55 points. Ryan Merkely was a big deadline acquisition from Guelph. He brings stability on the blueline, and his playmaking abilities are exceptional. His 71 points leads the team in scoring, and is second among OHL defencemen.

The Generals have been on a run of their own heading into the playoffs. Similar to their first round counterpart, they too won seven out of their final 10 games of the season. GM Roger Hunt made a lot of moves to make this team a contender, including trading to get Brandon Saigeon from Hamilton and Anthony Salinitri from Sarnia. Saigeon has led the charge since coming over from the Bulldogs. His 92 points leads the team, and his 55 assists is tied for 10th in the OHL. Among those 55 assists, a lot of Saigeon’s passes has gone to the tape of Salinitri, as he has lit the lamp 48 times this season, which is tied for seventh among leading goal scorers.

This series will be a tight one, despite Oshawa winning six of the eight meetings this season. Merkley will have to be the leader at both ends of the rink if the Petes want to keep up with Oshawa, and Peterborough will have take advantage when on home ice, as Oshawa has dominated at home, going 21-10-3 at the Tribute Communities Centre. This matchup will be determind by the goaltenders. Hunter Jones has stolen games for the Petes many times this season, but he may have met his match in Kyle Keyser, whose .915 SV% was second-best in the OHL.

My Pick

Low-scoring will be seen throughout the series, but in the end, Keyser will shut the door on the Petes, and Oshawa will take the series in six. 

(4) Sudbury Wolves vs. (5) Mississauga Steelheads

If you like high scoring hockey, turn away because this may not be the series for you. Though Sudbury may not have any 100-point scorers, the scoring is spread throughout the lineup. After being traded to the Wolves from Sarnia, Adam Ruzicka has been a big contributor for Sudbury. Since joining the team, he has scored 41 points in 30 games. Rookie Quinton Byfield has been one of the best newcomers in the OHL. With 61 points in the regular season, the Newmarket, ON native finished third in rookie scoring. The MVP for the Wolves, unquestionably, is Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Arguably the best goaltender in the league, Luukkonen went 38-11-4, with a 2.50 GAA and league-leading .920 SV%.

The Steelheads have really been in a slump in the waning months of the season, which means it will be very important for their leaders to step up. Players such as Thomas Harley and Cole Carter. Carter has been a very balanced player, scoring 35 goals and 33 assists this season, finishing second the team with 68 points. Harley has really helped the offence from the blueline, as his 58 points is eighth among OHL d-men. However, it will be Alan Lyszcarczyk who will really need to play a huge role in this series. Since coming over from Owen Sound early in the season, he has been the go-to guy for Mississauga, leading the team with 82 points.

Mississauga finished the season losing eight of their final 11 games. Sudbury was able to win eight of their final 11. Two teams heading two separate directions heading into the playoffs will make it interesting to see which version of each team will come out in game one. The difference will be Luukknonen, and if the Steelheads can find a way to solve to World Juniors Gold Medalist. 

My Pick

Goaltending will be the biggest factor, and Sudbury has the unanimous advantage, Wolves in five.

All statistics and records found from the OHL and Elite Prospects

Looking Ahead At The Top 2020 NHL Draft Prospects

As you may know, I love looking at future drafts and prospects. The 2020 draft has to be one of my favorites in the near future, even though it is still a ways away. So, with that said, I’ll be looking at five players of the best projected players in the 2020 draft.

Alexis Lafrenière

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The projected #1 overall pick in 2020 plays as a left wing for the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL. Lafrenière is very swift on his skates, has an excellent shot and has astonishing hand to eye coordination. Lafrenière is looking like a generational talent and I see no huge problems in his game. He currently has 36 goals and 67 assists for 103 points in 60 games. He also played with Canada at the World Juniors.

Pro Comparison (Not skill based, just similar play styles): Artemi Panarin

Noel Gunler

The Swedish right winger has shot up the 2020 draft rankings. He currently has split time playing for Luleå HF J20 and Luleå HF in the SuperElit and the SHL. Gunler’s best asset is his knack for the net. He has great vision and is able to rush to get rebounds. He might struggle a bit because of his size, but I see no reason why he can’t be a great player in the NHL. He currently has 25 goals and 19 assists for 44 points in 30 games with the Luleå HF J20 team.

Pro Comparison (Not skill based, just similar play styles): Jake Guentzel

Anton Lundell

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The Finnish center, like Noel Gunler, has shot up draft rankings for 2020. He has split time between HIFK U20 and HIFK in the JR. A SM-Liiga and Liiga. He has spent most of his time with HIFK which is quite impressive for a 17 year old. He’s a great playmaker thanks to his passing and his vision. Besides being a great playmaker, Lundell, is a great two way forward. He currently has 8 goals and 9 assists for 17 points in 36 games with HIFK. He also played with Finland at the World Juniors.

Pro Comparison (Not skill based, just similar play styles): Bo Horvat

Quinton Byfield

The Canadian center plays an excellent power game. He currently plays for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. He was granted Exceptional Status during last year and was drafted 1st overall. He plays with lots of power and strength, yet still has great offensive skills in his passing and his shot. He has a big frame at 6’4″ 214 pounds and should continue to grow. He currently has 29 goals and 32 assists for 61 points in 61 games with the Sudbury Wolves.

Pro Comparison (Not skill based, just similar play styles): Sean Couturier

Jamie Drysdale

The Canadian defenseman plays an excellent puck moving game. He currently plays for the Erie Otters of the OHL. He has outstanding passing and excellent speed. When he’s on his game he is untouchable. He has an amazing work ethic as well. He is not a slouch on defense and always gets back in position thanks to his speed. He currently leads Under-17 defenseman in the OHL in points with 38, 7 goals and 31 assists in 59 games.

Pro Comparison (Not skill based, just similar play styles): Duncan Keith

Just Missed Prospects

Kaiden Guhle (Defenseman, Prince Albert Raiders, WHL)

Alexander Holtz (Winger, Djurgårdens IF J20, SuperElit)

Cole Perfetti (Center, Saginaw Spirit, OHL)

Lucas Raymond (Right Winger, Frölunda HF J20, SuperElit)

Justin Barron (Defenseman, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL)

stats from – Elite Prospects

Special Thanks to Gray Fox at The Upper Bowl for the scouting report on Jake Guentzel

 

OHL Report: Sudbury Continues to Climb the Standings

The Sudbury Wolves have always been a team that has been overlooked by most in the OHL.

Sudbury, Ontario is located Northeast of Lake Huron. It’s closer to The Soo Locks (Sault Ste. Marie) than the GTA. Location has made it difficult for the franchise to attract top talent such as fellow clubs in London, Kitchener, Oshawa, etc.

Sudbury has only earned two division championships since joining the league back in 1972. Since their last Central Division title in 2001, the Wolves have only had four winning seasons. However, this year, things seem to be looking up for the Wolves. As of November 26, Sudbury sits atop of the Central, and second in the Eastern Conference. It makes me wonder, how have they turned it around?

New Head Coach

Head Coach, and two-time Stanley Cup champion, Cory Stillman has found a way to turn his team into an easy two-points for the opposition into a scrappy, and successful bunch. After being embarrassed by Barrie 10-3 in their third game of the season, the Wolves have picked up their play, both offensively and defensively. The Wolves are looking to win more than 20 games for only the second time since 2014. With a 15-8-1-1 start heading towards December, the Wolves are on pace blow past that mark.

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The club’s scoring throughout the lineup has been huge through the first two and a half months. David Levin has really had a turn around season. After missing almost a third of the season last year with injury, the former first-overall pick in the OHL Priority Draft has 22 points through his first 25 games, just behind his 29 points he scored all last season. He’s projected to produce close to 60 points, which would be a career high. Nolan Hutcheson seems to have found his stride in his second season. The big winger from Kingston already has ten goals, with six assists in 23 games this season, greatly improving from only scoring 17 points all of last season. Rookie standout Quinton Byfield has shown why he was the #1 pick in this past summer’s priority draft. In 21 games, he’s averaging .71 points per game. The Newmarket native’s 15 points has him tied with Blake Murray and Shane Bulitka for third in team scoring.

It is not just the offense that has stepped up, the defense has vastly improved as well. Last season,  only five players had a positive plus-minus. This year, only three players have minuses. In Sudbury’s first 25 games, they have held opponents to three goals or less in 16 times. They only achieved that feat 24 times last season. Not bad for a team that allowed the second-most goals a year ago.

Luukkonen Rock Solid In Net

Of course, a team’s success is nothing without a good goaltender, and the Wolves have had that this year in the play of Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. In the Finnish net-minder’s first season, he has been outstanding for Sudbury. He has gone 13-5-1-1 in 20 starts this season. His 13 wins has him tied for the third in the league. His 2.65 GAA is eighth best in the ‘O’, while his .919 is tied with Michael DiPietro for fifth best. He has faced the fourth most shots (645) while making the third most saves (593). He has definitely been the Wolves MVP so far this season.

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The Wolves are certainly one of the biggest surprises this season, and deservedly so. A team that has finished last twice in the last four seasons, and only made the playoffs twice since 2014. If this club can keep at the pace they are currently going at, they are going to be a tough and nasty team to play come late March.

stats from ontariohockeyleague.com