Ice Wolves' losing streak hits five games

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In almost the blink of an eye, a top-two finish in Provincial Women’s Hockey League standings this season has turned from probable to unlikely for the defending regular-season champion Kingston Jr. Ice Wolves.

The Ice Wolves, who were in second place in the 20-team league heading into this past weekend — seven points behind the No. 1 Etobicoke Dolphins, one point up on the third-place Toronto Aeros and two points ahead of the fourth-place Stoney Creek Sabres — are now behind all three of those teams following a trio of road losses that extended their losing streak to five games.

It is the first time the Ice Wolves have lost five games in a row since dropping seven straight between Jan. 3 and Feb. 5 in the 2015-16 season.

A narrow 3-2 decision to the Oakville Hornets on Sunday afternoon capped the weekend, which also included a 3-2 loss to the Burlington Barracudas on Saturday night and a 3-1 loss to Stoney Creek on Friday night.

Kingston, with a 20-9-3-2 record and with four games left on their 38-game schedule, now sits eight points behind first-place Etobicoke, five back of second-place Stoney Creek and two behind Toronto. The Ice Wolves are also just two points ahead of fifth-place Oakville.

On Sunday, Oakville’s Sara Di Filippo scored unassisted at 13:14 of the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and give the home-ice Hornets the win. The teams had split two goals in each of the first two periods — Kristina Bahl and Eva Warnell scored for Oakville with Kiara Zanon and Chihiro Suzuki replying for the Ice Wolves.

Zanon’s goal was her 30th of the season and marks just the 13th time since 2005-06 (the league’s second season in existence) that a player has reached the 30-goal plateau, with Daryl Watts of Mississauga holding the record of 37, set in 2015-16, her second of two 30-goal campaigns. Zanon leads the league with 58 points (30G, 28A), and all three stats are Kingston franchise records.

On Saturday, Clare Malhinha scored at 13:40 of the second to break a 2-2 tie for Burlington. Paige Greco had scored twice in the first period for the Barracudas before Kingston’s Rebecca Thompson and Zanon netted goals in the opening eight-plus minutes of the second to tie the game.

On Friday, Grace Nelles, with her second goal of the game, snapped a 1-1 tie at 8:05 of the third period and Vanexxa Upson added a goal 70 seconds later to give Stoney Creek its win. Zanon scored Kingston’s lone goal.

The Ice Wolves host the London Devilettes on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Stoney Creek on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on the second-last weekend of the regular season.