First, however, they will have to get there.
Despite proving, without a doubt, that they are competitive with the very best in the country, the Lady Wolves will need at least one win over the final two games in order to secure one of four semifinal berths up for grabs in the six-team field.
This after dropping their second 2-1 encounter of the week, edged out by the Stoney Creek Sabres on Tuesday night. In a game that could have gone either way, the Sudbury girls did not benefit from the same breaks that allowed them to knock off the Sabres 3-0 in the provincial final a little over a week ago.
Following a very tight checking scoreless first period, Emily Calligan broke the ice for the Sabres, jamming home a puck off a goal-mouth scramble that somehow found its way to the back of the net, just 30 seconds into period No. 2.
Sudbury countered midway through the frame, once again thanks to the one-two punch of Karli Shell and Kennedy Lanktree. With Shell winning a draw clean to Lanktree, deep in Stoney Creek territory, the latter directed the puck towards the net, with Shell scooping it up, spinning and burying her fourth goal in three games.
Unfortunately, the winning goal provided a mirror image of the OWHA gold-medal encounter. After scoring a pair of short-handed goals against the Sabres last Sunday, the Lady Wolves were victimized for a costly one last night.
Unable to keep the puck in at the blue-line, the Sudbury defenders were outraced by speedy Alexa Vasko, who then roofed a beauty, beating goaltender Stephanie Pascal clean, high to the blocker side.
With both teams trading chances — the Lady Wolves outshot the Sabres 25-24 — the northern girls pressed for the equalizer, but were thwarted by netminder Hannah Miller. The Sudbury side dodged a bullet midway through the final frame as an apparent goal was nullified when forward Victoria Klimek was penalized for goaltender interference.
The 2-1 loss leaves the Lady Wolves with a record of 1-2, but trailing only Stoney Creek and the Weyburn Gold Wings in the standings. While both frontrunners are are sitting pretty at 3-0, there is an absolute logjam behind them.
The latter upset the former 5-4 in one of the earlier games on Tuesday, while the Fraser Valley Phantoms remain in search of their first win, losing 3-2 to Weyburn yesterday.
The Lady Wolves face Edmonton at 3:30 p.m. today, closing out their round robin against Fraser Valley on Thursday. While one win could still qualify the team for the playoffs, depending on how all other games play out, two wins straight wins would definitely do the trick.
And the Lady Wolves will need a bounce or two to go their way in order to make that happen.