Nickel Capital Wolves defend their crown
by Randy Pascal
To a man, players and coaches alike of the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves knew they were fortunate to have escaped, Tuesday evening, with a 3-2
overtime win in game four of their Great North Midget League (GNML) final with the North Bay Trappers.
Back on the road for a winner take all game five showdown with the Trappers, the locals were not about to push their luck.
Goals by Mathieu Dokis-Dupuis, Parker Savard and Ethan Lavallee, all in the opening stanza, provided the Nickel Capital Wolves with all of
the momentum they would need, defending their GNML crown with a 4-1 win.
Jacob Peterson Galema (North Bay) and Brandon Atkins (Sudbury), with a late empty-net marker, traded tallies in the third, while Wolves'
netminder Alex Vendette followed up an incredible performance in game four with a solid showing in game five.
"We kind of came out of that Tuesday game knowing that we had stole that game, that our goaltender stole that game," said Sudbury head coach Peter
Michelutti Jr. The net effect was to create a pre-game dressing room setting that made his job easy.
"The guys were nervous," said Michelutti Jr. "There were some butterflies, and that's what you like as a coach. You want the players to have some urgency,
to be emotional, to really want this."
If the GNML title game did not require Michelutti to reach deep into his bag of coaching tricks, the same could not be said mid-series, as the local
midgets displayed some highly uncharacteristic lack of discipline in losing game three 5-1.
"That was such a learning lesson for our players," said Michelutti. "You get into a high leverage situation and then you let things that you can't control
get into your head - it really took a toll on us. Guys got frustrated and it really showed."
"If the guys self-evaluated after that game, I am sure they were kind of embarrassed by how they acted," he continued. "That's not how they have played
most of their lives. They let their emotions get the best of them."
The need for discipline, Michelutti contends, is not limited simply to avoiding treks to the penalty box. "We were giving up way too many odd man rushes, too
many second chances. We've been a team, this year, that will get outshot, but if we can keep things to the outside and protect that middle, we'll be fine."
"We had a couple of games where we gave up that middle of the ice, and gave up those high grade scoring chances. We changed up a few things and really
put some early pressure on them, and got out to that early lead."
The Nickel Capital Wolves will practice twice more before launching their bid for another trip to the Telus Cup come Monday night at 7:30 p.m. at
the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex. The Alliance Hockey champion Windsor Spitfires will provide the opposition.
A complete tournament schedule can be accessed, on line, at