Done with Durham

Wolves draw first place Elora in second round

By Josh Howald

That’s a wrap, Thundercat. It’s time to rock, Elora.

The Ripley Wolves eliminated the Durham Thundercats from the WOAA Senior AA playoffs Saturday night with 5-4 win in Game 5 of their North Division quarter-final series.

Kurt Edwards deals with Brad Cripps driving the net hard while tracking a shot from the slot during Game 5 of the Wolves - Durham series Saturday night in Ripley. Edwards was big, stopping 42 shots to help Ripley advance to the WOAA North Division semi-finals. (Barb McKay photo)


Ripley had pushed Durham to the brink the previous night with an overtime win on the road.

“I thought we carried the play for the majority of the series and deserved the five-game outcome,” said Wolves captain Jeremy McQuillin, whose late goal forced overtime in Game 4 Friday night in Durham.

“We proved we can come back from early deficits and that we can win close games.”

Things don’t get easy for the Wolves. Ripley will now face the Elora Rocks in the North Division semi-finals. Had the Shallow Lake Crushers dug out of a 3-0 hole to Shelburne, the Wolves would have drawn Saugeen Shores, but the Muskies won Game 6 of that series Monday night and will face the defending champs from Port Elgin.

The Rocks finished the regular season on top of the North Division standings with a 19-0-4-1 record and are coming off a four-game sweep of the Lucknow Lancers. Ripley would have loved to take on the Winterhawks after beating them twice during the regular season, but Ripley can only control the games they play. Elora defeated Ripley 9-2, 6-3 and 6-3 in three meetings between the clubs this season. The Winterhawks, meanwhile, wrapped up a four-game sweep of Mapleton-Minto with a 10-2 win Saturday night.

For Ripley, Nick Locking led the offensive charge, scoring four times in Saturday night’s 5-4 win in Game 5. He scored once in the third, once in the second and a pair in the first. Ryan Armstrong also had a first period goal. Travis VanGaver assisted on three of Locking’s four goals, while McQuillin had two assists.

 “It was exactly the kind of series we thought we would get from them,” said McQuillin. “They trapped, and played a chippy style from start to finish.”

Mark Stanley scored in overtime winner the previous night on the road in Game 4. After a scoreless first, Durham scored two quick ones but Stanley cut the lead in half after taking a pass from brother Brian just before the second period ended. With just two minutes left in the game, McQuillin scored form Alex MacLeod to force the tiebreaking period.

Kurt Edwards made 42 saves in this one.

All second round match-ups have now been set. Monkton, who shocked Clinton with a four-game sweep will face the first place Komoka Klassics, and Tavistock will face Petrolia. Petrolia beat rival Tillsonburg in six games while the Royals ended Milverton’s season in five.

There will be a Senior A playoff round this season as well. That format has Lucknow playing Thedford in a best–of-3 series that opens Friday in Lucknow. The winner of the Lancers – Thedford series will play Durham in a best-of-7. Meanwhile, Shallow Lake and Minto-Mapleton will face off in a best-of-7 series with the winners of the two seven-gamers meeting in the final.

While the North waits on Shelburne and Shallow Lake, the South Division has settled things through the first round. Monkton, who swept Thedford. Tavistock, who knocked out Milverton in five games, will take on Petrolia, who eliminated Tillsonburg in a Saturday night Game 6.

Elora will have home ice against the Wolves, and while unofficial, a schedule has been released. Game 1 would be in Elora Friday night, with Game 2 Saturday in Ripley. Games 3 and 4 are Monday in Elora and Tuesday in Ripley. If necessary, The Rocks would host a seventh game, if it comes down to it.