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Friday, Jun. 22, 2018
Back from OHF Championships, Midget Wolves grab local crown
by Randy Pascal

The Sudbury Midget "AA" Wolves would experience a complete range of emotions within the relatively small range of just 48 hours over the course of the past few days.

One of only two local teams to qualify for OHF (Ontario Hockey Federation) Championships last weekend, the Midget Wolves bounced back from an 0-4 performance at provincials, to capture the Nickel District Minor Hockey League divisional crown the next day in dramatic fashion.

"It was a pretty tough weekend," acknowledged Sudbury coach Claude Larocque, not long after his squad edged the Blind River Thunder 4-3 in the fifth and deciding game of their series.

Mind you, facing teams ranked first, second and sixth in the My Hockey Rankings that also listed the Midget "AA" Wolves at slot #57 in Ontario, Larocque and the lads travelled to London fully aware of the uphill climb before them.

"We knew what we were up against," said Larocque. And while the team certainly struggled to find the back of the net at the OHF Championships, the scores were more than respectable, losing to the Mississauga Jets (3-1), Caledon Hawks (4-0), London Jr Knights (2-0) and London Jr Mustangs (5-3).

Back home on Monday, the team had only one objective on their mind. "We were focused here on just winning this game for the championship," said Larocque. "We were very aggressive and really wanted to win. The boys showed a lot of heart tonight."

They needed all of it, facing a "never-say-die" crew from Blind River. Following a scoreless opening period, the teams traded a quartet of goals in the second, with tallies from Sudbury call-up Caleb Courville and Preston Lewis offset by markers from Clifford Brock and Kayne Mortimore.

A 23 second span, early in period three, proved to be the difference as the Wolves scored twice, with Keegan Gillis-McAnulty taking advantage of even more room than usual on the large Countryside ice surface, beating Connor Cyr with the teams playing four on four.

On the very next shift, and just four seconds after a Thunder player returned to the ice from the penalty box, Alexander Barry doubled the lead for the homeside, burying a short-handed goal.

The visitors, however, continued to press, with Brock recording his second of the game with 5:06 remaining. But Blind River could not solve Sudbury netminder Nicholas Larocque for a second time in the frame, as he registered a total of 26 saves in picking up the win between the pipes.

The balance of the Midget "AA" Wolves roster includes Justin Lefrancois, Ryan Walker, Philip Barry, Parker Case, Brodey Forgette, Ethyn Kaboni, Carter Mitroff, Mathieu Seguin, Hunter Hykin, Reilly Cormier and Ryan Paquette.

Joining Larocque on the team staff were Jaime Lewis (ass't coach), Heidi Paquette (trainer/manager), Robert Paquette (manager) and David Walker (trainer).

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