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Friday, Apr. 20, 2018
Bantam Wolves take league title, Jr Sons off to OHFs
by Randy Pascal

There would be something of a consolation prize for the Sudbury Major Bantam "AA" Wolves after all.

With the Nickel City Jr Sons having already secured the regional berth at the OHF Championships next weekend thanks to their NOHA title run in Timmins a few weeks back, the Wolves were looking to earn a bit of a split, taking home top spot in the Nickel District Minor Hockey League divisional final between the two teams.

The teams met in Chelmsford this past Thursday evening, their six point final deadlocked at four points apiece. The Sudbury lads would break open a 1-1 tie, scoring three unanswered goals in the final ten minutes of period two and adding a little insurance in the third, closing out the series with a 5-1 win.

Captain Max Mahaffy paced the attack with a two goal effort, with Evan Daigle, Jack Heaphy and Ethan Matijevich adding solo tallies. Blake Cornthwaite replied in a losing cause for the Jr Sons, who extended the series the weekend earlier thanks in large part to the play of goaltender Joel Coulombe.

The young puckstopper turned in an impressive 36-save performance in game four, allowing Nickel City to escape with a 3-2 win. In fact, all but the final game of the series would come right down to the wire, as the Wolves kicked off this matchup with a 2-1 victory, followed in rapid succession by a pair of ties (2-2 and 1-1).

Game four would see the Jr Sons start quickly, getting first period goals from Blake Cornthwaite and Graeme Siren just 44 seconds apart. Call-up Tyson Belland cut the Sudbury deficit in half with the only tally of period two, before Nickel City extended the lead on a goal from Eamon Dolphin at the 37 second mark of the third.

Belland would pick up his second, a few minutes later, to make things interesting, but in the end, the Wolves could not solve Coulombe for a third time. Given a the year-long rivalry these two teams have staged throughout 2016-2017, no surprise that they know each other well.

“They always have that one guy in front of the net, ready for the pass from the corner,” said Coulombe. “My goalie coaches have helped me through a lot, with positioning and movement.” This season marks the first time that the 14 year old grade 9 student at E.S. Horizon has made the jump to “AA” hockey, a move much to his liking.

“The biggest thing here is the speed,” said Coulombe. “It’s much faster, there’s much more intensity.” The Jr Sons will practice a couple more times before heading back up to Timmins next weekend, site of the OHF Bantam "AA" Championships.

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