By Josh Howald
There will be no more howling in Ripley.
Not until next winter, anyways.
The 2012-13 campaign came to an end for the Ripley Wolves Saturday night in Game 5 of the WOAA Senior AA North Division semi-finals in Elora. The top-seeded Rocks displayed some killer instinct, clinching this series with a 7-3 win. Elora will now face the defending champions from Saugeen Shores in the North Division Final.
While the Winterhawks breezed past the Shelburne Muskies in four straight games, the Wolves at least put up a bit of a fight. After dropping Game 1 of the series, Ripley managed a split on the opening weekend of this series thanks to a miraculous third period comeback that saw the Wolves score four times in the third period to win 5-4.
Games 3 and 4 of this series were close, but Elora never trailed in 5-2 and 4-1 wins. The Rocks, who haven’t lost at home since Oct. 19, 2012, put a stamp on the series with Friday night’s win. Rob Mair and Jeremy Machin scored first period goals for Elora, who went ahead 3-0 early in the second period on another Machin goal. Jeremy McQuillin scored for the Wolves to make it 3-1, but Steve Mullin restored the three-goal lead less than two minutes later. Mair made it 5-1 before Paul Stewart and Matt Snider traded goals to head to the third period with the score 6-2. Todd Martin made it 7-2 for the Rocks less than a minute into the third period. Ryan Armstrong scored to make it 7-3 with less than two minutes left on the clock.
Blake Sinclair picked up the win in goal for Elora, while Kurt Edwards watched the Ripley net.
It’s a tough way to end the season for the Wolves, who believed they were capable of threatening for a league championship. While Ripley did knock off the Winterhawks three times during the regular season, they were outclassed by a strong Elora team. The Rocks were 19-4-0-1, finishing first in the North Division in the regular season. Elora swept Lucknow in the opening round of the playoffs, while the Wolves had no trouble with Durham, sweeping the Thundercats in four games as well.
The Rocks and Winterhawks will meet for Game 1 Friday night in Elora. In the South, the Komoka Classics and Tavistock Royals will kick off the South Division Final on Saturday night in Komoka. Both the Classics and Royals won five game series, with Komoka taking out Monkton and the Royals eliminating Petrolia.
In the A Division playoffs, it will be Durham and Shallow Lake in a best-of-seven final series.