Semi-final action begins with the End of the Roll GNML Report
by Randy Pascal
The Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves sure know how to give their fans their monies worth come playoff time.
One year ago, the local "AAA" midgets hooked up with crosstown rival Nickel City Sons in a Great North Midget League semi-final classic.
Back to back double overtime encounters that led into one of the wildest game five showdowns in recent memory entertained the Sudbury hockey faithful for
a two and a half week stretch.
Fast forward to mid-February 2013 and it is the Nickel Capital Wolves and the Kapuskasing Flyers providing the round two drama. Opening their
series in Sudbury over the weekend, the teams split their first two games, with extra time needed in the curtain-riser.
Perhaps this could get as good as last year.
Little surprise that the matchup has produced some very tight-checking hockey, with the adversaries playing 32:06 in game one before Miguel
Castillo capped off a pretty three-way passing play, breaking the ice for the visiting Flyers.
The goal appeared that it might stand as the game-winner until Sudbury defenseman Niibin Nashkawa converted on the power-play, banking a shot
off a Kapuskasing defender and sending the contest to overtime.
With the teams combining for just 11 minor penalties, it was the last one that proved most costly. Nickel Capital Wolves' forward Josh Moore was
assessed a head contact minor in overtime and Kapuskasing needed less than a minute to end the drama, as Olivier Chabot pulled the trigger.
Despite being visibly upset with the penalty call on Saturday, Sudbury coach Peter Michelutti Jr and staff managed to refocus the troops on
Another scoreless first period gave way to a relative shootout in the second, as Kapuskasing tallies from Sheehan Moore and Brenden Locke
were offset by Sudbury markers courtesy of captain Michael Laidley and Nashkawa.
That set the stage for veteran Charlie Venedam, not dressed for game one, to pull the trigger with the man advantage early in the third, giving
the homeside a 3-2 win and sending the series back to Kapuskasing tied at a game apiece.
Not nearly as much drama in the second semi-final as the Soo North Stars are making short work of their series with the Nickel City Sons.
The league favourites kicked things off with an 8-0 win at home on Saturday, looking almost equally as impressive in a 6-1 win the next day.
Two goal performances from both Cody Caron and Ryan Vendramin provided more than enough support for netminder Jacob Kment, racking
up the shutout against the visiting Sons.
Matthew Mitchell, Kaelan O'Flynn, Jaren Bellini and Anthony Stefano rounded out the scoring for the Soo, already ensured a berth in the
national finals that are being hosted in Sault Ste Marie this year.
A game two letdown lasted only briefly as the North Stars spotted Nickel City a first period goal by Malcolm Bilton, scoring four times in the
second and adding two more in the third.
Jaron Rowe netted the first two goals for the Soo, with Stefano, Vendramin, Bellini and Brandon Grandinetti jumping into the action before
all was said and done.
The series resumes on Saturday night in Levack, with the teams slated to faceoff for game three at 8:00 p.m. at the James Coady Memorial Arena.
Game four, if necessary, will take place Sunday afternoon at the Centennial Arena in Hanmer.