It is difficult to call a series over until the final horn of that fourth victory. With that being said, if the Sudbury Wolves lose tonight at home against the Brampton Battalion in game three of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal, this series is as good as over.
Hosting the first two games, the Battalion outplayed their counterparts thoroughly in game one, cruising to a 4-0 victory in game one, and coming back from one goal deficits twice to win 4-2 in game two. Game one’s hero was Matt MacLeod, recording his first career hat trick to pace the Battalion attack. Phil Lane answered the call in game two picking up a hat trick, including an improbable goal reaching out to tip in a cross-ice pass from Brett Mackie which gave the Troops the lead.
Reigning scoring champ Michael Sgarbossa has been stifled through the two games in Brampton. Battalion defensemen Zach Bell and Cameron Wind have been given the task of shutting down the crafty forward and his line mate Josh Leivo. That works just fine for the pair.
“It’s been like that all season, we took a lot of pride in shutting down the opposing lines” said Wind. “It’s a good test for us, we’ve been playing against them all year” continued Bell.
Brampton’s inevitable difficulty will be trying to get the key match-ups in Sudbury that they had on home ice in Brampton. Wolves Coach Trent Cull will be looking to get the Sgarbossa line away from Wind and Bell. After putting Nathan Pancel with Sgarbossa and Leivo in game one, Cull changed it up moving Derek Schoenmakers up into the top unit. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with it for game three, or does some more line juggling with Andrey Kuchin likely still out.
A 2-0 series lead is comfortable, but with back to back games in Sudbury on Tuesday and Wednesday night, the series could look very different in a hurry. Each team boasts a 2-2 record against each other in Sudbury this season and without question, the Wolves will be trying to set the tone early. It will be key for Brampton to play a simple road game and weather the early storm. Scoring the first goal is incredibly important for Sudbury. They scored first in Brampton, but an early goal at home gets the crowd into the game, especially when they’re already down in the series.
Sudbury needs to win both games this week. While overcoming a 3-1 deficit isn’t impossible, it’s pretty close when two of those games will be on the road.