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Friday, May. 25, 2018
Minor Midget Wolves solid at Titans Tournament
by Randy Pascal

A very respectable performance to open the 2017-2018 tournament schedule for the Sudbury Minor Midget "AAA" Wolves, posting a record of 2-2-0 in round robin play at the Toronto Titans Minor Midget Tournament and grabbing third place in the six team field that comprised Division 7 of the prestigious event.

The Wolves opened with a 3-1 win on Thursday against the Buffalo Regals, scoring once per period while goaltender Owen Kilganon would see his shutout bid ruined by Colin Schmatz with under three minutes remaining in the game.

By that point, Sudbury had built up a 2-0 lead on tallies from Justin Dauphinais and Giordano Biondi, with Hunter Brazier adding an empty net marker in the final minute of play to seal the deal.

The locals saw no need to stray too far from their M.O. in game two, blanking Victory Honda from Detroit 3-0 as Iroquois Falls native Carson Boutin recorded the whitewash between the pipes.

Offensive support came courtesy of Brazier, with a pair of second period goals, and Dauphinais, with the only snipe of the final frame. The toughest loss for the Minor Midget Wolves would come in game three, as the Greater Kingston Jr Frontenacs sandwiched a pair of second period goals around a counter from Biondi, handing the Sudbury lads their first setback by a final score of 2-1.

Needing an upset victory over the Vaughan Kings even have a hope of moving on, the Wolves threw caution to the wind as their opponents capitalized, posting a 5-1 triumph over the Northern Ontario crew. Defenceman Deric Charbonneau blasted home the only goal of the game for Sudbury, facing the team that would fall in the championship final, losing 3-0 to the Toronto Marlboros.

Advancing to the quarter-finals, Vaughan blanked the Mississauga Senators 5-0, with the Mississauga Reps (3-1 vs Peterborough Petes), Niagara North (3-1 vs Don Mills Flyers) and the Marlies (4-0 vs Buffalo Jr Sabres) also moving on to the final four.

Vaughan would eliminate Mississauga with a 2-1 semi-final win, while Toronto doubled Niagara North 4-2. As for the local reps, there was a definite sense of optimism in the voice of head coach Mardy St Jacques.

"I was very pleased with the team's effort, we are gelling as a group," St Jacques noted in email correspondence. "All in all, a great weekend and measuring stick that pointed out where we are, and where we can improve, in practice, to get to the next level."

In fact, the Wolves staff knew exactly what they would be facing as the contest with Vaughan approached. "Our scouting report on the Kings was to a "T", with other scouts telling us that they are a top three team in North America," said St Jacques.

"They are big and skilled, they play a disciplined style and don't deviate. We played very physical and kept their skilled players off the board, but as they pushed back, we took undiciplined penalties that cost us. Five on five, we could play with them."

"Our defence kept us out of trouble, and it is nice to know you have two solid goaltenders. They played exceptional and made key saves when we needed it most. It allowed our guys to have the confidence to just go out and play their best."

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