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T-Birds and Cubs to open post-season play on Thursday

Already locked into their first round NOJHL West Division Semi-Final matchup with the Soo Thunderbirds, the Greater Sudbury Cubs racked up a pair of wins to close off the 2023-2024 season on a four-game winning streak, with post-season play set to begin on Thursday.

A 3-2 squeaker over the Powassan Voodoos at home on Thursday gave way to an 8-1 shellacking of the French River Rapids in Noelville the very next night, leaving the Cubs with a final record of 43-12-1-2 (89 pts), just two points back of the first place Blind River Beavers.

Ethan Larmand opened the scoring on the power-play versus Powassan in the first but the visitors struck for two replies in a span of 2:40 (Caleb Dawson at 8:23; Tucker Shields short-handed at 11:03), giving the Voodoos a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes of play.

Oliver Smith knotted the contest at two with just 16 seconds remaining in the middle stanza and Larmand would bury the game-winner midway through the third, teaming up with linemates Oliver Smith and Samuel Assinewai.

Noah Metivier turned aside 39 shots in net for the Cubs, earning the win and first star honours, while Daniel Dirracolo was tagged with the loss.

Rifling more than 50 shots at the tandem of Brady Dyer and Elijah Grant on Friday night, the Cubs were in control from start to finish, up 3-0 after one and 5-1 at the end of the second frame.

Cameron Shanks scored twice to show the way for the visitors with Ethan Larmand, Ben Harris, Josh Kavanagh, Hudson Martin, Oliver Smith and Cameron Walker pulling the trigger once each.

Dominic Bzdyl was the only French River player to solve Sudbury netminder Noah Beaulne as the Kingston Frontenacs draft pick recorded 20 saves on the night.

In the end, the Cubs earned home ice advantage over the Soo Thunderbirds (39-13-4-1), the very team that eliminated the locals one year ago in the second round of the playoffs.

The teams will meet up for games one and two this coming Thursday and Friday nights at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex before the series shifts to the Lock City for battles on Monday and Tuesday of the following week.

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