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Wolves looking hot heading into new year

Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 8:11 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The Watertown Wolves are back home Thursday night for a Federal Hockey League contest against the Binghamton Black Bears at the fairgrounds ice arena.

The Wolves are looking to continue their hot play into the new year.

After sitting out last season due to COVID, the Watertown Wolves are once again making their presence felt in the Federal Prospects Hockey League.

Coach Brent Clarke’s team is 12-3 on the season, percentage points ahead of the Danbury Hat Tricks for first place in the standings.

The Wolves have won three straight games and nine of their last 10.

Clarke says it’s been easy to figure out what the key has been.

“The locker room, the guys we have in there,” he said. “It’s a tight-knit family and they come together pretty well. At the start of the year you think you have about 16 rookie first-year players, you think you’re going to be a little bit under-powered, but with the three veterans in Coachman and Justin MacDonald and Lane King, it’s been a great fit for us.”

The Wolves rank second in the league in goals scored with 80 and have given up the fewest goals in the league – 46.

Alexander Jmaeff, who is second in the league with 22 goals and third in the league with 28 points, says the team has been successful by keeping things simple on the ice.

“You know, I just think we’re a close-knit group,” Jmaeff said. “We’re a hard-working team and we keep it simple every night and everyone does their jobs and we’ve been having a really good year. It’s been good to see. We know we have a job to do every night and we don’t try to complicate it and it’s just been working out.”

With players coming and going due to call-ups, the Wolves’ roster has been a work in progress all season.

That has put a little more pressure on the veterans on the team, like captain Justin MacDonald, to take on the added role of teacher as well for the new faces.

“We’re trying to teach the new guys that are coming in the systems that we’ve generally played but it’s tough when there’s only three, four veterans on the team,” MacDonald said. “We’re just trying to keep it simple. Our strength right now is our offense. We’re scoring a lot of goals and we’re having some great goal-tending, so that’s gonna help us both sides of the game. As long as we keep this going, we’ll be good.”

The Wolves will be looking to keep it going Thursday night when they host Binghamton.

These two teams have already played five times this season, with the Wolves winning 3 and Binghamton winning 2.

With Elmira sitting out this season, the Black Bears have quickly become the Wolves’ new rivals.

“Yeah, it sucks not having Elmira in there,” Clarke said. “It’s a good spot to go up and play hockey and what have you. Binghamton is our new rival and every time we play those guys we want to let them know and send a message that we’re the better team.”

The puck is set to drop for the Wolves and Binghamton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Watertown Fairgrounds ice arena

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