Wolves goalie Matt Climie struggles in shootout loss
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media January 5, 2013 11:04PM
Derek Joslin handles the puck against Griffins defenseman Adam Almquist on Saturday. | Ross Dettman~Wolves
Updated: February 7, 2013 6:52AM
Throughout last season, Wolves goalie Matt Climie had to battle for ice time playing behind Eddie Lack, who is one of the parent-club Vancouver Canucks’ top prospects.
But after playing nearly every game over the last 11/2 months while Lack recovers from groin and hip-flexor injuries, Climie might have had all the time he can handle.
Climie looked slow and tired in the Wolves’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins (19-10-1-1) on Saturday night at Allstate Arena. The Wolves (14-12-3-2) were outscored in the shootout 2-1.
Climie has played in 13 of the Wolves’ last 14 games, including 11 in a row before sitting out the Wolves’ 3-2 victory against the Abbotsford Heat on Dec. 30. In the two games since his one-game respite, the Wolves have lost.
“Sometimes you don’t have the most energy,” Climie said. “You just got to find a way to will through it and make those saves. It’s one of those efforts I’m obviously not happy about.
“Mentally, it’s straining at times. But it’s just character. It’s just part of being a goaltender.”
Climie’s first mistake came at 11:46 in the first period, when he failed to get his knees on the ice and allowed Griffins winger Luke Glendening to shoot the puck between his legs and tie the score at 1.
Just over a minute later, Climie made the same mistake when winger Gustav Nyquist scored off the rebound of a shot Climie blocked.
Climie’s most absent-minded play came on Glendening’s second goal at 1:12 in the second period. Glendening was parallel to the Wolves’ goal but managed to sneak the puck inside the near post after Climie failed to cut off the angle, one of the most fundamental plays for a goalie.
The Wolves managed to salvage a point with a two-goal third period that sent the game to overtime. Andrew Ebbett scored on a power play goal at 8:37, and Mark Matheson scored on a one-timer at 12:29.
“There’s lots of nights when [Climie] won us hockey games and gave us a chance to win games,” Wolves coach Scott Arniel said. “Tonight the guys battled hard in the third to get that evened up.”
According to Arniel, Lack will fly to Vancouver on Sunday or Monday to see a specialist.