The Renfrew Timberwolves are inching ever closer to their third Valley Division final appearance in four years.
The Wolves celebrate Sean Kyte's (12) first-period goal Friday night at the Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre. Renfrew skated on to a 6-3 win over the Arnprior Packers in game 3 of their Valley Division semifinal series.
Peter Clark, Renfrew Mercury
Paced by four goals in the first period, the Wolves went on to double the Arnprior Packers 6-3 at the Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre Friday night.
The win gives Renfrew a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening round series of the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Game four is this evening (Saturday). Game time is 7 p.m.
Wolves 6, Packers 3
Casey Doner and Colin Bradbury scored last-minute goals in games one and two, allowing each to complete a three-goal performance.
The Wolves got their hat trick cemented quickly in game three.
After Brock Burge gave the Packers a 1-0 after just 23 seconds, Drew Anderson collected three of the next four goals to lift Renfrew into a 4-1 lead through 20 minutes.
Sandwiched in-between was a Sean Kyte marker off a Tanner Smith feed. Kyte’s goal snapped an early 1-1 tie and put the Wolves in front for keeps.
Burge, early in the second period, and Reid Murphy with a shorthanded effort midway through the third, allowed the Packers to hang around, but on each occasion, the Wolves soon responded.
Jesse Riopelle made it 5-2 in the middle period, and Kurtis Leclaire upped the margin to 6-3 when he flipped the puck past goalkeeper Kyle Lamothe one-handed late in the final stanza.
Riopelle had three assists to go alongside his goal.
Again Renfrew dominated in shots on goal as they hovered around the 60 mark.
Around the loop
On the strength of a 6-3 triumph Friday night, the Perth Blue Wings have taken a 2-0 lead in their Valley Division semifinal series over the Stittsville Royals.
They play tonight also, in Perth at 7:45 p.m.
The two Ottawa teams are deadlocked at a game apiece in their Metro Division semifinal series.
The Ottawa Junior Canadians and Ottawa West Golden Knights can each boast a 3-1 victory.
Meanwhile, the defending conference champion Gatineau Mustangs are on the ropes.
The Mustangs looked like they might hardly loss a game at the start of the 2012-13 season.
Now they can’t win one.
5-4 (double overtime), 3-1 and 1-0 losses to the Clarence Creek Castors have pushed Gatineau to the brink of elimination.
In Rideau-St. Lawrence Conference action, the Westport Rideaus edged the Gananoque Islanders 3-2 Friday to take a 3-2 lead in their series.
The Rideaus also have the luxury of knowing, should they fail to win the series in six, they’ll be at home for game seven, despite the fact that Gananoque finished above them in the Rideau Division standings.
Both the Athens Aeros up against the Brockville Tikis series; and Akwesasne Wolves versus the Clar-Lan Rebels are tied 2-2 heading into crucial game 5 match-ups Saturday evening.
The defending EOJHL champion Casselman Vikings lurk in the wings. They swept the Winchester Hawks four straight, outscoring their St. Lawrence Division counterparts 30-5 despite winning one game 3-2 in double overtime