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Cubs overcome sickness and hot goalie to even the series at one
2024-04-20
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The Greater Sudbury Cubs regained their 2024 playoff form - but goaltender Daniel Dirracolo had other ideas.

It all added up to a highly entertaining game before a large crowd at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex Friday night as the Cubs evened the best of seven NOJHL final series at a game apiece with a 2-0 whitewashing of the Powassan Voodoos.

After a somewhat sluggish showing in a game one 5-2 loss to the Voodoos, the West Division champs opened with a surge in game two, controlling play for much of the first ten minutes of the contest.

Generating at least three or four quality chances, the Sudbury snipers were stymied by Dirracolo, giving his teammates enough time to weather the storm as the Cubs outshot the visitors 12-7 through twenty minutes of play.

Still the scoreboard sat blank, just as it would through period number two, a more evenly contested frame in part due to back to back penalties to the homeside midway through the second.

A testament to their discipline, Powassan was not tagged for a single infraction throughout the entire encounter, with Sudbury limiting their damage to just three minors.

Not wanting to be down 2-0 in the series before even setting foot in the opposition home venue, the Cubs were dealt a blow when the sickness bug that has been making its way through their dressing room would force starting netminder Noah Metivier to call it a night, bringing back-up Noah Beaulne into a scoreless game with just twenty minutes to play.

The Cubs finally broke the ice at 3:50 of the third when Hudson Chitaroni, the future Sudbury Wolf who would earn first star accolades, pivoted on a dime deep in Voodoos territory and slid a nifty backhand pass through a relatively small lane directly on to the stick of Marshall McCharles, the fellow Wolves prospect making no mistake in beating Dirracolo just above the pad.

With coach Darryl Moxam forced to ride the line of Oliver Smith, Ethan Larmand and Noah Kohan far more than usual - Nolan Newton and Cameron Shanks were both unavailable and Samuel Assinewai lasted just one period - it was the likes of Ben Harris, Mateo Signoretti and affiliated call-up Kaedyn Long that would eat up valuable third period shifts, with the d-corps (one through six) all putting in yeoman's efforts on this night.

All of the above translated to Beaulne facing just eight shots in the third, though there were a couple of big saves and moments of scrambled defensive zone hockey in the final five minutes as the Voodoos finally threw caution to the wind to pressure the Sudbury side.

With Dirracolo pulled in favour of an extra attacker for the better part of the final two minutes, the Cubs did just enough to avoid the deadlock until the point where Hudson Chitaroni would ice the contest with a 160-foot shot into the yawning cage with just 12 ticks remaining on the clock.

Beaulne and Metivier would combine for a 25-save shared shutout while Dirracolo finished the night with 28 saves.

Games three and four are now set for Powassan on Sunday (April 21st) at 2:00 p.m. and Monday (April 22nd) at 7:00 p.m., would puck drop for game five at the Countryside Arena estimated for 7:05 p.m. next Thursday evening (April 25th).

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