Wall of defence.
The Perth Blue Wings band together to protect goaltender Jeremy Wright and a 5-2 lead at Renfrew's Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre Sunday night.
Peter Clark, Renfrew Mercury
The last time Tony Iob took over the coaching reins of the Renfrew Timberwolves, it was in midseason.
They finished fourth in the Valley Division of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League, took out the top-seed Perth Blue Wings in the opening round of the playoffs, and went on to capture the club’s 11th Valley Division title.
That was two years ago.
The Wolves are in fourth once again, and appear destined to face their Lanark County rivals in another first-round playoff matchup.
Perth 5, Wolves 2
The Wolves will need to brush up if Sunday night was any indication.
The division-leading Blue Wings netted three unanswered third-period goals to claim the 5-2 triumph at the Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre.
Ben Wade paced the visitors with three goals while veteran keeper Jeremy Wright made 38 stops.
Brett Madigan – who has many relatives in Renfrew and area – added a goal and three helpers for Perth.
Dallas Farr and Michael Minns put the Wolves on the board. Matt Gagne turned aside 32 of 37 Perth shots.
The game turned when the Wolves couldn’t connect on a two-man advantage in the second period.
The loss ran a Renfrew losing skid to five games.
Almonte 4, Wolves 0
The Wolves failed to convert six powerplays while the Thunder made good on three of their six attempts in Almonte Saturday evening.
Liam Killeen had two goals and goaltender Dominic Plaschy blocked 28 Renfrew shots to deal the Wolves their third shutout loss of the season.
Gagne faced 35 Almonte drives.
The Wolves still have a seven-point cushion on the Thunder for the final playoff spot. Almonte had played three less games.
Clarence Creek 5, Wolves 3
The Wolves were the chasers all night long.
The Metro loop’s Clarence Creek Beavers struck for an early 2-0 lead, and added two more quick tallies for a 4-1 edge to close out the second period.
The Wolves fought back with two goals of their own in the final stanza to narrow the gap, before a Sabastien Dion empty-netter sealed Renfrew’s fate.
Colin Bradley and Casey Doner had three-point nights for the Wolves. Bradley had two goals and Doner one.
Ryan Eady moved up to wing and added two assists.
Clarence Creek netminder Ryan McLaughlin made 23 saves while Gagne blocked 18 drives.
The Wolves’ Adam Pearson and Clarence Creek counterpart Brett Faber received early exits following a spirited scrap seven minutes from the end of the middle period.
Kurtis Leclaire was also banished halfway through, and resulted in a nine-minute Beavers powerplay.
The Wolves came within 23 seconds of killing it off. The Clarence Creek powerplay marker actually came on a two-man advantage.
Leclaire also received a two-game suspension for the number of fighting majors accumulated.
Perth 6, Wolves 5
The Perth Blue Wings broke up a 4-4 deadlock with two powerplay goals early in the third period, and then held off a late-game Wolves comeback bid Dec. 28 in Perth.
Colin Bradbury, Sean Kyte, Kurtis Leclaire, Scott Conroy and Casey Doner shared Renfrew goals. Bradbury and defenceman Ryan Eady added two assists.
Four Renfrew markers came inside of a 10-minute span to give the Wolves a 4-2 lead in the first period, but an immaculate night from Perth’s Blair Barr turned the game around.
The Blue Wings veteran had four goals, but his second was a bad one for the Wolves to allow. Barr scored shorthanded with just seven seconds left in the opening stanza to cut the Wolves advantage to 4-3.
Coming off injury, Matt Gagne made his first start in goal in over a month for the Wolves.
Jeremy Wright earned the goaltending win for Perth.
The Wolves don’t see home ice again until Friday, Jan. 18 versus the Arnprior Packers.
The Renfrew club travels to Shawville this Friday at 8 p.m. They are also on the road Sunday for a 2:30 p.m. start in Stittsville.