With all six teams making the playoffs, the shuffling for positions in the Great North Midget League is complete. A pair of closely matched, best-of-three quarter-final series begin this weekend.
The Nickel City Sons closed out their final week of the season with a 4-2 win at home over the New Liskeard Cubs, sliding into third place with a record of 14-14-1-1, just two points back of the Kapuskasing Flyers.
Sheldon Lalonde paced the attack with a two-goal effort, with single markers from Jason Bednarski and call-up Mackenzie MacMillan. Marshal Nikitin and Dustin Gauvreau countered for the Cubs.
The Sons will host the Timmins Majors in Games 1 and 2 of their playoff set. Both encounters are slated for the Chelmsford Arena -- Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The Majors closed out the season six points back of Nickel City with a record of 11-17-0-2. The teams split their six-game regular season set. A betting man might bank on some overtime action in this series -- two of the regular season games were decided by one goal, three by a two-goal margin and just one three-goal win in the set.
The Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves closed out their pre-playoff lineup with a busier weekend. The Wolves grabbed first place with a record of 21-8-0-1, three points ahead of the North Bay Trappers, securing one of two first round byes for the playoffs.
The Nickel Caps started their week Wednesday with a big 3-2 win at home over North Bay. Eric Paquette netted the game-winning goal late in the second, while Jackson Gunner and Cédric Primeau added the remaining goals for Sudbury. Nathaniel MacLeod scored both goals for the visiting Trappers.
The Nickel Capital Wolves finished their schedule with a two-game northern swing, earning three of a possible four points. Raphael Lecours scored the game-winning goal in a shootout Saturday, allowing the Flyers to escape with a 3-2 win.
Alex Plamondon and Cameron Etherington also found the back of the net for Kap, with Rudy Giusti and Anthony Pelletier handling the offence for coach Peter Michelutti Jr and company.
With goaltenders Mathieu Kingsley and Mackenzie Savard both unavailable for action on Sunday, the Sudbury crew called on local AA netminder Grady Meranda, who secured his first GNML win as the Nickel Caps topped the Majors 7-2.
The visitors jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead. Pelletier led the charge with goals, with Primeau, Ryan Mooney, Austin Burke, Caleb Boman and Ryley Chum adding singles. Wayne Mathieu and Brett Andrews tallied for the home side, who rested No. 1 goaltender Devon Debastos with the playoffs right around the corner. The second GNML quarter-final series sees the New Liskeard Cubs heading to Kapuskasing to face the Flyers.
Though both series will wrap up midweek, the league will take a break from playoff action Feb. 21-23. That's because the OHL's Sudbury Wolves welcome Team NOHA for a Developmental Weekend in Sudbury.
Timmins 4, New Liskeard 2
The Majors spotted the Cubs a 2-0 lead, but roared back to score four unanswered goals. Austin Landry scored two, including an insurance marker into an empty net.
North Bay 4 ,New Liskeard 3
Thomas Farrell snapped a 3-3 tie at 4:27 of the third period, with the goal standing as the game winner for the visiting Trappers, who took the short jaunt up Highway 11 to visit the Cubs.