What seemed like a runaway lead at the head of the Great North Midget League might yet find the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves meeting a challenge for the GNML title this year.
After suffering just three losses in their first 17 games of the 2013-2014 campaign, Sudbury has tasted defeat in three of the last four outings, including both encounters in which the team saw action last week.
That said, first place is still well within reach, with the Nickel Capital Wolves just three points back of the North Bay Trappers, but holding four games in hand.
The Trappers turned up the heat on the front-runners, just a little, beating Sudbury 5-3 last Thursday, paced by a two-goal effort from Jeff Jordan.
Matthew Peterson-Galema, Nathaniel McLeod and Michael Silveri rounded out the attack for the winners, with Ryan Mooney, Jackson Gunner and Eric Paquette replying in a losing cause.
The Midget AAA Wolves fared no better at home on Saturday as the visiting Timmins Majors rode a strong goaltending performance from Devon Debastos to a 2-1 victory.
Wayne Mathieu and Adam Kvas provided Timmins with a 2-0 lead, before Rudy Giusti cut the margin in half in the third.
The Nickel City Sons maintained their hold on third place, chalking up a pair of 4-3 triumphs, both requiring more than 60 minutes of hockey.
Denver Ghent scored midway through the overtime session last Tuesday, lifting the Sons to a one-goal win over the New Liskeard Cubs.
Sheldon Lalonde, Alain Sicard and Joel Grandbois also scored for Nickel City, with David Elford, Alexi Rivet and Jacob Leveillé countering for the Cubs.
Facing the Majors the day after their big win in Sudbury, the Sons managed to force the shootout, with Sicard tallying the game-winning marker.
Jacob Palmerio, Lalonde and Nathan Shane potted goals in regulation time for coach Joel Whissell and company, with Mathieu, Calvin Naveau and Brett Andrews making their way on to the scoresheet for the visitors from Timmins.
A very quiet mid-January week ahead features only a pair of matchups, including the first of three straight between Sudbury and Nickel City as the local rivals meet Saturday night at 7:20 p.m. at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
Regular season play this year ends on Feb. 9.