The defending Esso Cup silver medal winners were on the verge of being eliminated in the first round of the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League playoffs, as game two of the series pitting the Sudbury Midget "AA" Lady Wolves and the Toronto Aeros kicked off at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
And though coach Jay Duncan and company still have plenty of work ahead to advance to round two, they did manage to live to fight another day, securing a 1-1 tie with the Aeros Saturday evening at home.
Jenna Lachance opened the scoring early for Sudbury, with Leah Horowitz deadlocking the game at one with a third period tally, a result that leaves the Aeros still holding a 3-1 lead in the four point series. The Midget "AA" Lady Wolves travel to Toronto, next weekend, and must win in regulation just to force overtime, and then must win the sudden-death ten minute affair, as well.
"In game one, I thought we played hard but didn't bury our opportunities," noted Lachance, referencing her team's 2-0 loss last weekend in the GTA. "In this game, it was all about getting even more shots on net, screen that goalie and put the pucks in the net." The good news, for Lachance and company, is that regardless of the outcome of game three, the Lady Wolves are already pre-qualified for provincials in April.
"Our big goal is still winning provincials and trying to make it to the Esso, so we are using this right now to get going for provincials," stated the 16 year old grade 11 student at E.S.C. l'Horizon. "We want to use these playoffs to get our endurance going, winning games before provincials."
Meanwhile, the Sudbury Midget "A" Lady Wolves were busy on a pair of fronts, having recently dropped game one of their regional playdown with the North Bay Ice Boltz, but working their way through to round two of the LLFHL playoffs.
After finishing in first place in the Central East Division of the league, three points ahead of the Central York Panthers and four up on North Bay, the Lady Wolves struggled to find their rhythm in game one of post-season play, edging the eighth place King Royals 4-3.
Kianna D'Attilio paced the Sudbury attack with a pair of goals on Saturday, with the Lady Wolves returning to form the next afternoon, blanking the Royals 4-0.
Danika Lalonde and Breanna Coyne scored two goals each for the winners, with Kianna Trottier recording the shutout. The Sudbury Midget A girls will face the Ice Boltz in game two of the playdowns next Wednesday night in North Bay.