Peewee Sons snap Sault Ste Marie winning streak
by Randy Pascal
The Nickel City Sons Major "AAA" Peewees dropped a pair of games, over the weekend, to the Soo Peewee "AAA" Greyhounds - but the also
accomplished something no other team in the Northern Ontario Peewee "AAA" Hockey League had been able to do, beating the Hounds Saturday in the
In fact, despite a depleted lineup, the Sons held a 5-4 lead midway through the third period of the finale of the three-game set, eventually succumbing
6-5 to the league leaders from Sault Ste Marie.
With five regulars out of the roster due to injuries or sickness, the home town Sons snapped the Greyhounds 19-game winning streak, handing the Sooites
their first loss of the season. Tyler Brisson scored twice as Nickel City doubled the Sault 4-2, with Broedy Bertrand and Bray Crowder
adding one goal each.
Daniel Cicchini and Jonathan Hammond replied for the visitors, who bounced back on Saturday evening, posting a 4-0 whitewash of the Sons.
NOPHL leading scorer Nicolas Sicoly drilled a pair of goals, while Austin Rowe and Drake Pilon chipped in with singles.
A back and forth affair to close things out Sunday afternoon in Chelmsford, as Nickel City trailed 4-3 heading to the third, converted twice on the
power-play to grab the lead, only to surrender a pair of goals in dropping the see-saw encounter.
Sicoly would lead the way once again, recording the hat trick to give the talented youngster a whopping total of 46 goals in just 22 games, more than
double that of his nearest competitor. Matthew Murray, Zachary Senecal and Rowe also found the back of the net for the Sault, while Bertrand, with
a pair, Jacob Stos, Bradley Chenier and Crowder replied for the Sons.
"I thought the boys played well," said Nickel City head coach Richard Walker, after the game on Sunday. "We're short a few bodies, but I think
we worked hard, we played with everything we had, but just ran short a little on our legs and some mental fatigue out there."
The Sons remain solidly entrached in solid place, four points back of the Greyhounds with a record of 18-3-2, but well ahead of North Bay. "I think
everybody gave great effort," added Walker. "I found our top end players stepped up and played their best. I thought Joel Grandbois, on the point,
was probably the best player on the ice, I would say, for both teams."
"I thought Broedy Bertrand had a pretty good weekend," said Walker. "I really couldn't have asked much more from the guys." A solid puck-moving and
rushing defenseman, Grandbois admits that he feels more comfortable jumping into the attack, knowing he needs to continue to improve in his own end of
"Defensively, we're making some of the same mistakes over and over again, and it's killing us," said Grandbois. Competing at the "AAA" level has allowed
Grandbois and his teammates to face some of the top teams in the province, something the young blueliner truly enjoys.
"I like playing the (Toronto) Marlies, because they're really good," he said. "We had a short bench against them too, and nearly beat them - and they're
number one in Canada."
Despite the 6-5 score on Sunday, Nickel City goaltender Brendan Skiffington made a number of key saves, most notably in the third period, giving
his team a chance to win. Not blessed with great size, Skiffington knows that he has to compensate, somewhat, to enjoy some success between the pipes.
"When I'm in net, I try and focus on staying big and coming out, blocking as much net as I can," he said. Blessed with quick side to side movement down
low, Skiffington agrees with Grandbois that having the ability to face top level competition helps to provide some very memorable outings.
"We played the Hamilton Bulldogs in one of our first tournaments - they're second or third in Canada," explained Skiffington. "We lost by two,
but I thought I had a really good game against them."
Nickel City is back in action on Tuesday evening, facing their crosstown rival Sudbury Wolves at 8:00 p.m. at the Countryside Arena.