The Perth Blue Wings aren’t ready to cash in their chips just yet.
Paced by goals from Gordon Sinclair, and two of their top snipers, Brett Madigan and Riley Kane, the Blue Wings stayed one step ahead of the Renfrew Timberwolves, posting a 3-2 triumph on home ice Wednesday night.
The win narrows Renfrew edge in the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Valley Division final series to two games to one.
Blue Wings 3, Wolves 2
Sinclair connected on a Perth powerplay 12:32 into the game to give the Blue Wings their first lead of the series.
That one-goal edge held up most of the night.
Renfrew did draw even briefly when Scott Conroy pulled the trigger on his first of two goals in the game.
It came shorthanded at the 11-minute mark of the middle stanza, and was the Wolves third shorthanded goal in as many games in the final series. Conroy fired an ice-cutter past netminder Jeremy Wright off a 2-on-1 break.
But the Blue Wings answered on a four-on-four situation under three minutes later when a rush up ice culminated in Madigan’s second goal of the series.
Wright made his biggest stop of the night, with the left pad, off Renfrew’s Drew Anderson only moments before.
The Blue Wings climbed into a 3-1 lead off some hard work from Mike Smyth, Madigan and Kane deep in Renfrew territory.
Kane was able to flip the puck high past Wolves goaltender Matt Gagne from off the lip of the goalcrease at 5:16.
Conroy made for a hair-rasing last four minutes for the home side when he stuffed a rebound behind Wright on a Renfrew powerplay with 3:42 remaining.
Perth’s Ben Wade was serving the second of a double minor for butt ending at the time.
Wright was equal to the task as time wound down.
The Perth netminder faced 43 shots in total, included 20 as the Wolves went for broke in the third period.
Gagne blocked 32 of 35 Blue Wings drives, and gave his team a chance to steal the game.
The series continues with game four at Renfrew’s Ma-Te-Way Activity Centre Friday at 8 p.m.
The Wolves were minus Ryan Eady and defenceman Dylan Zavitske, both servicing suspensions as a result of Sunday night’s scrappy game two.
Renfrew was also minus the services of blueliner Chris Minns. “He gives us a lot of minutes,” assistant coach Mike Bredlaw said.
• Friday, March 1 - Renfrew 5, Perth 3;
• Sunday, March 3 - Renfrew 7, Perth 4;
• Wednesday, March 6 - Perth 3, Renfrew 2;
• Friday, March 8 in Renfrew - 8 p.m.;
• Sunday, March 10 in Perth - 7:45 p.m;
• Wednesday, March 13 in Renfrew - 8 p.m.;
• Friday, March 15 in Perth - 7:45 p.m.
Around the loop
The Ottawa Junior Canadians are out to a quick 2-0 series lead in the Metro Division championship series.
The Canadians won the opener 5-4 on Stephen Fullum’s goal 15:36 into overtime at the Brian Kilrea Arena Tuesday night.
South Ottawa overcame a 2-0 deficit and later snapped a 3-3 deadlock in the third period en route to a 6-4 win in game two at Clarence Creek.
The best-of-seven series continues Saturday night in Ottawa.
The Akwesasne Wolves have battled back to even the St. Lawrence Division final at a game apiece with a 4-2 Tuesday night win over the defending EOJHL champion Casselman Vikings.
They meet again Thursday night in Casselman.
The Athens Aeros have taken a 2-0 lead in their Rideau Division final series against the Gananoque Islanders with their second 4-1 victory.
Game three is Friday night in Athens.