A three-game weekend sweep over the Soo Envirotek Jr. Greyhounds might just provide the breathing room the Sudbury Technica Major Peewee AAA Wolves were looking for to avoid a first-round playoff matchup.
Sudbury took all three games at home over the weekend, putting the team eight points clear of the Hounds and two ahead of the Timmins North Stars in third place of the Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League Major Peewee standings.
With just three weeks remaining in regular season play, the Wolves would very much like to hold their current position, as the post-season kicks off with a mini-series between the teams sitting in fourth and fifth place.
The determination of Mike Brunette's troops was evident from the drop of the opening puck as Sudbury recorded victories by scores of 5-3, 3-1 and 5-1.
The line of Mathieu Dokis-Dupuis, Billy Moskal and Brett Jacklin provided the offensive impetus, with Dokis-Dupuis netting a hat trick right out of the gate in Game 1 on Jan. 26.
Jacklin and Hunter Chiblow chipped in with one goal apiece, with Avery Rebek, Lucas Theriault and Spencer Dupuis replying in a losing cause, all in the third period.
Later that evening, Jacklin and Dokis-Dupuis were joined on the scoresheet by James Colburne, with goaltender Scott Adams losing his bid for a shutout in the final minute of play.
Tyler Sayers connected on the power play with just nine seconds remaining, the only puck to elude Adams.
The Sudbury crew were equally as dominant on Jan. 27 at the Carmichael Arena as Dokis-Dupuis drilled home his fifth and sixth goals of the series, leading the way for the locals.
Jacklin, Colburne and Julien Tubin added one goal each, with Theriault accounting for the only tally for the Sooites.
The Sudbury Major Peewees face their second consecutive critical three-game set this coming weekend as Timmins makes a visit to town.
Meanwhile, though the Sudbury Minor Peewee AAA Wolves remain mired in last place, their coach is anything but discouraged.
“I thought the kids played well,” said Kyle Doherty following Game 3 of a sweep at the hands of the Timmins TradeMark Mechanical Minor Peewee AAA North Stars.
In fact, with the exception of a 7-0 loss on Jan. 26, the Wolves were in both of the remaining encounters, falling 5-2 and 3-2.
“This was our first time with a full roster in a while,” Doherty said.
The weekend set marked the return to the lineup of captain Kolton Harry, sidelined with an injury for the past three months.
“It makes a big difference because he's physically imposing on the ice,” said Doherty. “He gives all of our other forwards more confidence.”
Unlike their major peewee counterparts, the minor-aged grouping will not be able to avoid a first-round playoff series, with plans well underway in the minds of the coaching staff for what lies ahead.
“Nick (Staneckyj) (assistant coach) and I had broken the season in three parts, looking to hit the playoffs with teaching the kids the final third of what we would like them to learn,” said Doherty.
“The biggest thing is to distribute the puck a little more, get pucks to the net, and have our defence being a very tough group to play against. Those are the keys for us in the playoffs.”
Parker Anderson scored both goals for Sudbury in the Game 1 loss to Timmins, with Alexander Fowke matching that feat in the third and final game.