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Cubs clinch first, get ready for the Paper Kings and the playoffs

The ship might not yet be completely righted when it comes to life in the land of the Greater Sudbury Cubs, but four straight victories in March have been enough to settle things down for the local NOJHLers, not to mention locking up first place in the West Division in the process.

Triumphs last week over the French River Rapids (5-1 last Thursday at Countryside Arena) and 5-3 the next night, on the road, over the Espanola Paper Kings improved the Sudbury record to 44-10-2-0 (90 points), good for a six point lead over the Blind River Beavers (40-11-2-2).

The Beavers have just three regular season games remaining - Sudbury has two - which makes it mathematically impossible for Blind River to catch Sudbury.

Thursday night at home, the Cubs rode a two goal effort from rookie Marshall McCharles, solo tallies from Cole Crowder and Pierson Sobush and an 18-save effort from Noah Metivier to victory over the Rapids in a game that turned nasty in the third, with more than one hundred minutes in penalties doled out.

Some twenty-four hours later, it was time for Samuel Assinewai and Oliver Smith to shine, the former netting both the game-winning goal and an insurance marker while Smith chipped in with his 17th and 18th goals of the year as the Cubs took the latest preview of the upcoming first round playoff series.

Sobush also found his way back on to the scoresheet while Ben Lacroix, Liam Bridgeman and Spencer Horgan scored for Espanola, with Metivier back between the pipes with the win.

The Cubs will play their final regular season home game Thursday night in Chelmsford (curling takes over the Countryside Sports Complex), facing the Paper Kings one last time before travelling to Powassan on Friday night.

Playoffs begin the next week as Sudbury and Espanola meet in Walden for game one on Thursday (March 23rd) at 7:30 p.m., the two teams right back at it the next evening - same time, same place - for game two.

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