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Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
Nickel Caps fall just short of playoff berth at TELUS Cup
by Randy Pascal

In two previous meetings this year, the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves and Toronto Young Nationals had split their games, the Wolves winning an early season tournament test, and the Nats emerging victorious at the Central Regional championships a few weeks ago.

Perhaps it's only fitting that a third encounter would end up in a draw.

Fitting, however, was not at all what the Sudbury crew were searching for. Fitting did not help coach Peter Michelutti Jr and company a whole lot. Fitting leaves the host team of the 2018 TELUS Cup Championships on the outside of the semi-final picture, looking in.

And it was just that close.

The Nickel Caps battled valiently, spotting Toronto a 1-0 lead, knotting the contest in the middle stanza and grabbing the lead in the third, before surrendering one final tally that would lead to the combattants leaving the ice deadlocked in a 2-2 affair as preliminary round play wrapped up Friday night at the 2018 TELUS Cup in Sudbury.

Joseph Martino opened the scoring at 13:34 of the first, with Brett McGlade getting that one back for the hometown crew six minutes into the middle stanza. Sudbury blueliner Joel Mongeon helped spring a puck loose, just inside the Toronto zone, with McGlade gobbling it up in the high slot and just barely squeezing his shot through the legs of Young Nationals' netminder Sean Wu.

With a thousand or so local faithful fully aware that a tie did Sudbury no good in their bid for a playoff berth, Joe Mazur provided hope. A quick wrap-around attempt slipped past Wu, as the Nickel Capital Wolves secured a 2-1 lead at 8:53 of the third, with Adam Bertrand and Carson McMillan drawing assists.

Unfortunately, the joy was short-lived. Less than a minute later, Rory Graham picked off an errant clearing attempt and let fly with a high wrister, through traffic, from just inside the blue-line, the seeing-eye goal catching the top right-hand corner of the net, with Sudbury puckstopper Alex Vendette having little to no chance on the shot he likely did not even see.

The Midget "AAA" Wolves pressed hard in the final ten minutes, a deflection from McGlade sliding just inches past the post to the left of Wu. And when he wasn't catching a break, the Toronto netminder did his part, in spades, to break the hearts of the locals, including a game-saving glove save in the dying seconds of the contest.

In the end, both Wu and Vendette were rewarded for their outstanding efforts, both named as the "Player of the Game for their respective teams. With a record of 0-3-2, Sudbury will join the Moncton Flyers (1-4-0) on the sidelines for weekend action.

The Notre Dame Hounds wrapped up their 5-0 round robin run with an impressive 5-1 win over Moncton Friday afternoon, the Saskatchewan lads now set to faceoff against the Young Nationals (1-3-1) in one semi-final.

The second matchup, which promises to be a great one, is a rematch of the 5-3 Friday victory by the Lethbridge Hurricanes (3-1-1) opposite les Cantonniers de Magog (2-2-1).

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