The Renfrew Timberwolves completed an 8-and-1 playoff run to capture their second Valley Division title in three years, and 12th in franchise history with a heartstopping 4-3 victory over the Perth Blue Wings Sunday night.
Presenting Valley hardware.
Metro-Valley president Ron McRostie, centre, presents the Valley Division banner and hardware to Renfrew Timberwolves captains and assistant captains, from left, Ryan Eady, Jesse Riopelle, Erik Mask and Kurtis Leclaire.
Peter Clark, Renfrew Mercury
The win allows the Wolves to claim the Valley crown in five games.
They will now take on the Metro Division champion Ottawa Junior Canadians in the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Metro-Valley final.
Wolves 5. Blue wings 2
It was a long third-period for Renfrew fans as the Wolves and goaltender Matt Gagne protected a one-goal lead.
Several icings and some huge saves later, the horn finally sounded.
It was the fourth time that a Renfrew team has claimed the Valley’s top honours (1993, 1999, 2000, 2013) on Perth ice.
Matt McIntyre had the lone opening-period goal, beating Perth netminder Jeremy Wright with a high dart from close range, before a flurry of six goals between the teams in the middle frame pushed the scoreboard to its eventual final stop of 4-3.
Sean Kyte had two goals to give Renfrew leads of 2-0 and 3-2, before Tanner Smith upped it to 4-3. Scott Conroy collected two assists.
However, the Blue Wings, down 2-0, got a pair of powerplay goals from Tanner Knight to draw even, and then a Riley Kane marker with 31 seconds left in the middle frame, to set the stage for a hair-raising third period.
“We started off the playoffs against Arnprior, and we’ve been building from there,” coach Tony Iob said from a jubilant Wolves dressing room.
“They threw everything at us tonight. They weren’t giving up easily,” Iob added of the Blue Wings.
“We’re not done yet.”
Dates have yet to be confirmed for the Wolves-Canadians series.
The Wolves showed their depth, winning game four without Drew Anderson, and game five minus Anderson and team-captain Jesse Riopelle, both on the sidelines with injuries.
• Friday, March 1 - Renfrew 5, Perth 3;
• Sunday, March 3 - Renfrew 7, Perth 4;
• Wednesday, March 6 - Perth 3, Renfrew 2;
• Friday, March 8 - Renfrew 5, Perth 2;
• Sunday, March 10 - Renfrew 4, Perth 3.
Around the loop
The Ottawa Junior Canadians overcame a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals for a 5-3 victory to take a 3-0 series lead over the Clarence Creek Beavers Saturday night, and then capped the Metro sweep with a 3-1 win in the Creek Sunday afternoon.
The Casselman Vikings pulled even with the Akwesasne Wolves at two games apiece. The Vikings rode four first-period goals to a 4-2 win in Akwesasne Saturday night.
But not to be outdone, Akwesasne took the series lead back with a 3-1 in Casselman Sunday night.
The Athens Aeros are up 3-1 in games on the Gananoque Islanders in the Rideau final following a 3-1 win Sunday.
Both Rideau-St. Lawrence Division series resume Tuesday night with the home teams in a position to advance.