Who are these guys? Backed by an unbeaten rookie goalie, the surging Sudbury Wolves have won five straight games to move into first place in the Eastern Conference of the Ontario Hockey League.
Sudbury, which finished last overall in the 20-team OHL in 2017-2018 with a record of 17-42-9, has a mark of 6-2-0 through 8 outings thus far in 2018-2019.
Sparking the Wolves has been import goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, who has a 5-0-0 record to go with a 1.78 goals against average and .944 save percentage.
The 6-foot-5 native of Finland was taken by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the 2017 National Hockey League draft.
AROUND THE O:
… Rookie goalie Zachary Roy of the reigning champion Hamilton Bulldogs has his first OHL win. The product of the North Bay area town of Callander made 42 saves in his OHL debut last week as Hamilton upended the Windsor Spitfires 5-2. Roy was Hamilton’s fourth round pick at the 2017 OHL priority selections draft. He apprenticed with the Rockland Nationals of the Central Canada Hockey League in 2017-2018.
… It has taken Saginaw Spirit left winger Nick Porco just seven games into the 2018-2019 season to surpass his goal total from the 2017-2018 campaign. The 2001 birth year skater, who hails from Sault Ste. Marie, has 7 goals in 7 games to begin the 2018-2019 season. He scored 5 goals in 57 games for Saginaw through all of the 2017-2018 regular season and added another tally in four playoff matches.
… Soo Greyhounds have an opportunity to take advantage of the home ice of GFL Memorial Gardens. The Soo, which has a 3-3-1 record to date, plays its next 6 games on home ice, beginning with a match on Wednesday of this week against the win-less, 0-6-0 Flint Firebirds. Fourth-year centre Morgan Frost leads the Hounds in scoring with 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points.
… After missing the Western Conference playoffs in 2017-2018 with a record of 20-43-5, much more was expected of Flint in 2018-2019. But the Firebirds have an 0-6-0 record and have been out-scored by a 38-10 margin. Four veteran forwards — Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes, Connor Roberts and C.J. Clarke — who seemed poised for big things have combined for only two goals thus far. And overage goalie Emanuel Vella, acquired in an off season trade with the Mississauga Steelheads, has a record of 0-4-0 to go with a 6.45 goals against average and .824 save percentage. General manager Barclay Branch has made three trades — all with the talent-rich London Knights — since the start of the season but the Firebirds have been unable to get it going thus far.
PHOTO: Sudbury Wolves goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, aka UPL.