Feb 12, 2013- 2:24 PM
Time will tell if the Nickel City Sons will join them.
Despite final scores that were closer than some might have expected, the Wolves managed to secure the two-game weekend sweep of the New Liskeard Cubs, moving to within a game of clinching the best-of-five quarter-final affair.
Further north, the Sons managed to earn the split, downing the Timmins Majors 6-2 on Saturday before being blanked 5-0 the next afternoon.
First, to Sudbury, where a sizeable advantage in shots on goal did not necessarily translate to a great deal of comfortable breathing room for head coach Peter Michelutti Jr. and his crew in Game 1.
A first-period goal from Jackson Gunner (Sudbury) was offset with a second-period marker courtesy of Chad Lemire (New Liskeard), leaving the combatants tied at 1-1 with overtime looming late in the third.
But with less than eight minutes to play in regulation time, an unlikely hero emerged. Daniel Eddy tapped in a lovely three-way passing play, converting on picture-perfect feeds from Charlie Venedam and Dylan Callaghan to give the home side the lead.
A Niibin Nashkawa howitzer from the point a few minutes later provided a little insurance as the Nickel Capital Wolves overcame an outstanding effort from Cubs' netminder Jessie Morin, peppered with more than 50 shots on the night.
It was a somewhat similar storyline on Sunday afternoon, though Game 2 appeared far more in control as goals from Cedric Primeau (short-handed effort in period one), Callaghan (power-play goal in period two) and Callaghan, again, in period three, allowed Sudbury to lay claim to a 3-0 lead.
Kyle Patterson put the visitors on the board with 6:21 to play on a five on three, but the Cubs were unable to do further damage with the man advantage.
Sudbury will go for the sweep Feb. 15 in New Liskeard. Should they eliminate the Cubs, the Wolves would await the winner of the Nickel City-Timmins series.
That matchup will go at least four games thanks to relatively dominant performances on both sides of the equation last weekend.
“If the kids would have stuck to the game plan, we could have swept,” said Nickel City head coach Joel Whissell.
A hat trick from Ryan Punkari and two-goal effort from Malcolm Bilton were capped with a final tally from Denver Ghent as the Sons scored four times in the middle frame in taking control of the series opener.
“We were keeping the tempo, moving the puck quickly up ice, hard on the forecheck and shooting from everywhere,” Whissell said.
Sunday, however, was a different story.
“The wheels fell off in a hurry and were travelling down the highway at a pretty good rate of speed,” joked Whissell, with a couple of days under his belt to absorb the lopsided loss.
Austin Landry, Calvin Naveau, Andrew Boucher, Tyler Romain and Kevin Guertin scored for Timmins, though Whissell insisted it could have been worse.
“(Goalie) Scott (Vaillancourt) was probably our lone bright spot in that game,” said Whissell.
In fact, one parent estimated that the young puckstopper might well have faced upwards of 60 shots in the contest in which very little went well for the visitors.
Heading to Levack for games 3 and 4, Whissell is maintaining a simple message for his players.
“We just have to find a way to keep them focused and make sure they don't try and do more than they need to do.”
The Majors and Sons will meet at the (Jim) Coady Memorial Arena on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. and then again on Feb. 17 at 2:30 p.m.
Game 5, if necessary, is back in Timmins sometime between the Feb. 18-21.