The no. 5 team in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League is going to the big dance with the no. 1 squad.
The upstart North Bay Trappers, who finished 18 points back of the regular-season champion Soo Thunderbirds, are four wins away from completing a magic carpet ride.
North Bay upset the Abitibi Eskimos in five games in the first round of the playoffs before stunning the high-octane Sudbury Cubs in seven games in the second round to advance to the finals against the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds have barely broken a sweat in this spring’s playoffs with seven wins in eight outings, including a four-game sweep of the reigning champion Soo Eagles in the second round.
North Bay, to be sure, is going to have to play to its utmost if it hopes to continue its peak playoff performance.
The Trappers are a well-coached team but lack the depth and junior hockey experience of the Thunderbirds.
Still, North Bay has balance of its own, especially up front with Brad Gehl, Matthew Salituro, Danny Desrochers, Brandon Janke and Corbin Bean leading the way.
In goal, North Bay product Mitchell Knight is the flavour of the moment but it remains to be seen if he can out-tend John Kleinhans of the Thunderbirds.
Led by lamplighters Micky Sartoretto, Matt Amadio and Brett Campbell, the Thunderbirds have four lines that can roll and a blueline led by Corey Jackson that is high grade.
PREDICTION: The Soo should win this series in six but I will not be surprised in the least if North Bay prevails.