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Bulitka Hero in Shoot-out Win Over 67’s

The Sudbury Wolves battled back in their final game of another 3-in-3 weekend to defeat the Ottawa 67’s in the seventh round of the shootout. Shane Bulitka was the hero as he scored the shootout winner to lift the Wolves over the 67’s with a 4-3 victory. Blake Murray scored two goals and was named the first star of the game. Kirill Nizhnikov scored his second goal in three games and Cole Candella recorded another multi-point night with two assists.

Jake McGrath received the start in net for the Wolves and played an excellent first period, standing tall. The Ottawa 67’s were looking for their first goal at home in over two games but didn’t find it in the first period. Both teams ended the period without a goal.  Shots on net 18-7 in favour of the 67’s.

Setting the tone for the period, Owen Gilhula and Sam Bitten dropped the gloves, energizing both benches. Pressure finally paid off for the 67’s, as Peter Stratis broke the deadlock with his fourth goal of the year. The goal had fans on their feet, throwing teddy bears onto the ice as the 67’s celebrated their annual Teddy Bear Toss. With time winding down, Murray scored a beautiful goal as he wristed it short-side off a feed from Candella. Murray’s goal came with five seconds left in the period and tied the game heading into the intermission.

Bad blood and goals defined the third period, with a total of four goals swapped between the two squads. Four minutes into the frame, Kody Clark put the puck under McGrath’s glove hand and into the net. Less than a minute later, Nizhnikov scored a beautiful goal as he released a one-timer to tie the game on the power play. The 67’s would take the lead yet again as Tye Felhaber squeaked the puck just under the pads to make it 3-2. After Dawson Baker was hit along the boards, the Wolves went onto a four-minute power play. With the Wolves on a 6-on-4, Murray scored his second of the game after capitalizing on a wide-open net to tie the game at 3.

In overtime, the teams exchanged chances without success. Darian Pilon drew a penalty in the extra frame off of Sasha Chmelevski’s high stick, but even with the extra attacker, the Wolves couldn’t score.

Jake McGrath continued his stellar performance in the shootout, stopping six of Ottawa’s seven shooters en route to the win. The teams went without goals for the first five rounds until Mitchell Hoelscher finally scoring for the 67’s in the sixth round. In a do-or-die round, Darian Pilon beat Olivier Tremblay five-hole to keep the shootout going. After Noel Hoefenmayer was stopped by McGrath, Shane Bulitka had the game on his stick with the chance to end it, which is exactly what he did as he beat Tremblay to win the game. Final shots on net 37-31 in favour of the 67’s.

The Sudbury Wolves will now return home and have the week to prepare for their Teddy Bear Toss next Friday, December 15th at 7:05 pm. It will be the last game before the Christmas break. Tickets are on-sale now at the Sudbury Arena Box Office and online at greatersudbury.ca/tickets.

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