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Timberwolves take exhibition home opener

Masha Scheele Photo

Tyler Waugh

The Hinton Timberwolves got off to a positive start to its inaugural season in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) with a 5-3 preseason win Sept. 14 over the Barrhead Bombers.

Rookie Mario Decapite scored a pair of goals, including the winner at 15:59 of the third period, to lead the Timberwolves.

Newcomer Bryant Joseph and veterans Dawson Basnett and Brendan Auger also scored for Hinton. Jamal Eakett, who was acquired in a summer trade with the Bellingham Blazers after finishing in the top-five in WSHL scoring last season, added three helpers.

“Always nice to start with a win. The first game, as a coach, you get to see what you have and how your players react to things. I tried to do as little coaching as possible in the game, I wanted to see their natural response … see where their instincts take them,” said Jeff Richards, coach and general manager for the Timberwolves.

Hinton built leads of 2-0 and 3-1 in the first period. After a scoreless second period Barrhead pulled to within 3-2 with a goal early in the third frame, but Decapite scored his second of the game to make it 4-2 and then the two squads traded goals in the final few minutes.

Max Sturko had a pair of assists while Alim Dormenov, Dorian Hall, Logan Arsenault and Dimitri Buttazzoni had one assist each.

Carter Wickson made 15 stops in net for the Timberwolves before giving way to newly acquired Adam Robertson, who made 13 stops in the second half.

Hinton outshot Barrhead – a squad also in its first WSHL season – by a 42-31 margin before a capacity crowd at Bill Thomson Arena.

“The boys saw the crowd and they were pretty amped. I think they settled down and the fans got a glimpse of what we have on the roster,” Richards said.

We’ve got some guys that can move the puck well and some guys that can really move their feet. We have a bunch of grit on the back end … through the entire lineup, really.”

The Timberwolves don’t play again until Sept. 28 when they host the Edson Aeros. A couple of previously planned games against Edson fell through, so the Sept. 28 game will be the first glimpse of the Aeros, who were the class of the Provincial Division in 2018.

Hinton opens the regular season Oct. 4 & 5 with a home and home against the Aeros.

In the meantime, Richards said work will continue to finish rounding out the roster and, in practice, working on some things with the players already in place.

“That Barrhead game … some aspects I was very pleased, but there’s still work to do in making us the team we want to be and the way we want to play,” Richards said, adding that roster additions will happen in time as camps close and cuts are made at major junior organizations.

“I’ve been on the phone trying to add more pieces, and I’m not worried, it’ll happen in time.”

Hinton, Barrhead and Edson join the Cold Lake Hornets and the Meadow Lake Mustangs in the Provincial Division