The Hinton Timberwolves headed south for the Western States Hockey League Showcase in Las Vegas wondering how they measured up against the best of the best.
Hinton was riding a win streak that included a pair of road victories Dec. 13 and 14 against the Cold Lake Hornets.
The offence tallied a combined 13 goals over the two games but managed only three goals total in three games against top-calibre squads from other divisions.
Hinton opened with a 4-1 loss to the North Colorado Eagles, which sit third in the Mid-West Division with a record of 17-6-1.
The Eagles built a 3-0 lead before Ilya Zhilinsky got Hinton on the board with assists to Jamahl Eakett and Max Sturko. Carter Wickson got the start in net and made 28 saves.
Hinton took the home team, the Las Vegas Thunderbirds, to overtime but lost 2-1. Logan Arsenault scored the lone goal for Hinton and Dimitri Buttazzoni and Zhilinsky had assists. Goalie Kolter Pawlick made 26 stops for Hinton as the Timberwolves were outshot in the game.
The third and final game of the showcase was against the top-ranked Ogden Mustangs which held a record of 26-1-1 in Northwest Division going into the game.
Brayden Harper opened the scoring at 10:33 of the first period and Hinton held a 1-0 lead until the opening minutes of the second period when Ogden scored the first of five straight goals in a 5-1 win for the Mustangs.
Buttazzoni had the only assist on Harper’s goal and netminder Adam Robertson made 33 stops for Hinton, which was outshot 38-23.
Hinton (20-5-1) currently sits second in the Provincial Division behind the Edson Aeros (22-3), who dropped two of three games themselves at the Showcase, including a 3-1 loss to Ogden.
Hinton has a couple of weeks off before they begin the final push to the post season with a Jan. 4 game in Cold Lake. Hinton is next at home Jan. 11.