The Sudbury U18 AAA Wolves will get their points while the going is good.
The fact is that it's an absolute rarity when the Great North U18 AAA League entry from Sault Ste Marie is not among the top one or two teams in the loop, constantly in contention to hoist the hardware that they have lifted, as a franchise, more often than any other team in the league.
For a whole variety of resons, however, 2023-2024 is not their year (at least not yet) - not that the Sudbury U18 crew or any other GNML squad is about to feel a whole lot of sympathy for the Greyhounds.
Scoring twice in the opening two minutes of play Saturday night at the Sudbury Arena and then putting it pretty much on cruise control for the rest of the game, the Wolves completed their two game sweep with a 7-2 victory, one night after bouncing the visitors 5-2 in Garson.
Second period goals from Carter Drigo, Benoit Hogue, Drigo again and Keynan Kidd were more than enough to overcome a first period tally from Lucas DiBerardino of the Soo on Friday, with Adam Urso (Sudbury) and Coulson Bell (SSM) trading third period snipes.
On Saturday, goals by Bryden Shank and Nate Lazarus gave Sudbury the early lead, an advantage that doubled by the end of the frame as Félix St Onge and Cameron Vehkala joined their teammates on the scoresheet.
That margin stayed the same heading to the third as Adam Urso and Carter Drigo bumped the Wolves total to six, with Danny MacDonald getting the Soo on the board with a pair of goals.
Ryan Dazé closed out the scoring late as Sudbury improved to 11-2-1-0 (23 points), three ahead of the North Bay Trappers (10-4-0-0) while the Greyhounds languish in last place with a mark of 3-8-1-0.
"We've got a really good group this year; the guys are really gelling in the room," suggested Dazé, one of three Wolves' additions from North Bay this season. "In a game like this, we try to focus on the little things: getting pucks deep, keeping our feet moving."
While Dazé played much of his minor hockey in the Trappers' organization, he actually spent 2022-2023 with the Mississauga Senators, making this year his first with the Great North loop that was established back in 1986.
"It's a crazy league, man," said Dazé, having now experienced the road trips to the far northern outposts of the league. "Some of the stuff that happens, you won't see anywhere else. The games are tough, the rinks are tough."
"It's a different beast."
And one that will challenge the U18 AAA Wolves three times in the upcoming week, welcoming North Bay to Countryside Arena this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and then facing the Timmins Majors in a pair of outings at the McIntyre Arena next weekend.
The second weekend of December finds the Sudbury lads joining their friends from North Bay, Kapuskasing and Timmins at the Waterloo Wolves Gold Puck AAA Tournament with twenty teams from across Ontario on hand.