Great North semifinal drama, once again

By: Randy Pascal

 | Feb 25, 2013 - 11:44 AM |
The action is heating up for Nickel Capital Wolves, fighting against the Kapuskasing Flyers in Round 2 of Great North Midget League play. File photo.

The action is heating up for Nickel Capital Wolves, fighting against the Kapuskasing Flyers in Round 2 of Great North Midget League play. File photo.

The Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves sure know how to give their fans their money's worth come playoff time.

One year ago, the local AAA midgets hooked up with crosstown rival Nickel City Sons in a Great North Midget League semifinal classic. Back-to-back double overtime encounters that led into one of the wildest Game-5 showdowns in recent memory entertained the Sudbury hockey faithful for a two-and-a-half-week stretch.

Fast forward to mid-February 2013 and it is the Nickel Capital Wolves and the Kapuskasing Flyers providing Round 2 drama. Opening their series in Sudbury on Feb. 23, the teams split their first two games, with extra time needed in the curtain-riser.

Perhaps this could get as good as last year.

Little surprise that the matchup has produced some very tight-checking hockey, with the adversaries playing 32:06 of hockey in Game 1 before Miguel Castillo capped off a pretty three-way passing play, breaking the ice for the visiting Flyers.

The goal appeared that it might stand as the game-winner until Sudbury defenceman Niibin Nashkawa converted on the power play, banking a shot off a Kapuskasing defender and sending the contest to overtime.

With the teams combining for just 11 minor penalties, it was the last one that proved most costly. Nickel Capital Wolves' forward Josh Moore was assessed a head contact minor in overtime and Kapuskasing needed less than a minute to end the drama, as Olivier Chabot pulled the trigger.

Despite being visibly upset with the penalty call, Sudbury coach Peter Michelutti Jr. and staff managed to refocus the troops on Feb. 24.

Another scoreless first period gave way to a relative shootout in the second, as Kapuskasing tallies from Sheehan Moore and Brenden Locke were offset by Sudbury markers courtesy of captain Michael Laidley and Nashkawa.

That set the stage for veteran Charlie Venedam, not dressed for Game 1, to pull the trigger with the man advantage early in the third, giving the homeside a 3-2 win and sending the series back to Kapuskasing tied at a game apiece.


Soo North Stars making short work of Nickel City Sons

Not nearly as much drama in the second semifinal as the Soo North Stars are making short work of their series with the Nickel City Sons. The league favourites kicked things off with an 8-0 win at home on Feb. 23, looking almost equally as impressive in a 6-1 win the next day.

Two-goal performances from both Cody Caron and Ryan Vendramin provided more than enough support for netminder Jacob Kment, racking up the shutout against the visiting Sons.

Matthew Mitchell, Kaelan O'Flynn, Jaren Bellini and Anthony Stefano rounded out the scoring for the Soo, already ensured a berth in the national finals that are being hosted in Sault Ste. Marie this year.

A Game 2 letdown lasted only briefly as the North Stars spotted Nickel City a first-period goal by Malcolm Bilton, scoring four times in the second and adding two more in the third.

Jaron Rowe netted the first two goals for the Soo, with Stefano, Vendramin, Bellini and Brandon Grandinetti jumping into the action before all was said and done.

The series resumes March 2 in Levack, with the teams slated to face off in Game 3 at 8 p.m. at the James Coady Memorial Arena. Game 4, if necessary, will take place March 3 at the Centennial Arena in Hanmer

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