So what if they are not the high profile school in Ottawa without a recent string of success? So what if they’re not CIS-ranked like the Varsity Blues? So what if they don’t even lead their own division?
The Lakehead Thunderwolves (9–3) have the OUA’s third-best record, and are a game behind in the OUA West (didn’t ya know?). Despite one senior on the roster (forward Andrew Hackner), they seem to be gelling well in their wins. To boot, they are second in the league in defensive scoring behind the Ravens, third in assists per game (16.8), and fourth in steals (9.1).
But they have been crushed a few times this season, including a heartbreaker to those Ravens on Nov. 27 (75–49). They were also tested this weekend with a double-home series against the Laurier Golden Hawks. They went 1–1 in those games, so much of my assessment of these young upstarts is still premature, but something tells me they have much more to say once the playoffs roll in next month.
After losing 91–82 Friday night, the Thunderwolves responded with a 90–84 grind-it-out win. What was the difference between Friday and Saturday? How about a 35–12 fourth quarter! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, I say. Jamie Searle has been their go-to guy this season, leading the Thunderwolves with 23 points and 8 rebounds for the game. The Hawks' Maxwell Allen scored 21 points in a losing cause.
While my wandering eye followed the Thunderwolves, there were other good contests this weekend as well. Exhibit A: the York Lions (6–7) and Ryerson Rams (4–8) had a heated contest, with said Rams winning 73–72. Four Rams scored in the double digits. Impressive.
Exhibit B: the Gee-Gees went 2–0 for the weekend, winning 105–33 against those lovely RMC Paladins, and 88–79 against the competitive Queen's Golden Gaels.
C: The Brock Badgers (6–6) lost to … the McMaster Marauders (7–5). I sound pretty enthusiastic, don’t I? In all seriousness, to lose 87–65 to a division opponent at this point in the season can be a bad omen—if not spiritually, then in the playoff seedings come Feb. 23.