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Battalion, Wolves begin OHL playoff journey

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The final week of regular season play was a good one for the Sudbury Wolves, who managed to pull out a fifth-place finish on the last day, despite the talk of a possible playoff date with their Highway 17 rivals in North Bay.

The Wolves are playing Peterborough, losing Game 1 on Thursday. However, coach Derek MacKenzie said he believes it’s a series his team can win.

"We've talked about it all year,” MacKenzie said.

“Our team has kind of had its back up against the wall. We've needed to, you know, put a lot of wins together to put ourselves in a situation that we're in now."

Good goaltending is a must-have in the post-season, and in the past few weeks, MacKenzie said he wasn't fearful of starting either young Nate Krawchuk or overager Kevyn Brassard between the pipes.

“I've got faith in both those guys,” he said.

“They are both hard workers ... they've really gone back and forth here down the stretch.”

MacKenzie said he is banking on that winning trend to continue against a team the Wolves beat three out of four times this season.

Sudbury fans will see the Wolves at home next Tuesday and Wednesday.

BATTALION VS STEELHEADS

In North Bay, the Battalion play Mississauga in a series fans didn't see coming.

After the Steelheads dropped all three of their games last weekend, they placed seventh in the overall standings and now play a team that's geared up for the playoffs.

While North Bay won four of six games against Mississauga, coach Ryan Oulahen said the Steelheads can't be taken lightly.

"We know the difficulties that they can bring to us, so that's a thing that we've been addressing with our guys,” Oulahen said.

“They just play a style and a way that sometimes is frustrating to play against -- and they do a really good job. They are really well structured, they play aggressive and they've got some big defenceman that can defend really well".

Battalion defenceman Ty Nelson, who is coming off a stellar regular season, says he's "playoff ready."

“Going into the playoffs is the same that it’s been all year, and that's our plan,” said Nelson.

“We're keeping our weekly routine the exact same, we're doing everything that we've done all year, the exact same. We're just treating it like it's another week, and it's another game.”

The Battalion will be back on the ice Sunday in Game 2 of the series. Many expect this one to be over quickly in North Bay's favour. 

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