A SDSSAA sweep at NOSSA hockey
by Randy Pascal
There was plenty to cheer about for the Sudbury faithful as the NOSSA hockey championships wrapped up on Tuesday. Local
teams had a field day, going four for four, with tournaments being staged both at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports
Complex as well as in North Bay.
The surprising Macdonald-Cartier Pantheres kicked things off in an all-SDSSAA "AAA/AAAA" girls final, upsetting
the favoured College Notre-Dame Alouettes 3-1.
The Pantheres had qualified for the final after edging the St Joseph Scollard Hall Bears 1-0 in overtime, despite
being outshot 30-21. Emilie Gatien scored the game-winner, taking a perfect pass in the slot from Stephanie
Legault and beating Bears' netminder Loryn Pearson.
Come the final, Gatien and Legault both found the back of the net, joined by ESMC defenceman Josee Wahamaa, with
Kaitlyn Coufal countering with the only goal of the game for CND.
The goaltending tandem of Andrea Gagnon and Danika Lefrancois came up big for the winners, surrendering
just one goal on 56 shots over the final two games.
The St Charles Cardinals matched their city title with a new NOSSA banner, taking the "A/AA" crown with a 5-2 win
over the West Ferris Trojans.
Brittany Reinhardt scored twice for the Cardinals, with singles coming from Kristene Romanyszyn, Sarah
Mulvenna and Samantha Fabiilli.
Neve Belanger scored twice in a losing cause, as the Marymount Regals rejoiced on the sidelines, advancing
to OFSAA based on the St Charles win despite going 0-3 at NOSSA.
The St Charles boys matched the girls win for win, claiming the "A/AA" banner in North Bay with a 2-1 win over the
St Mary's Knights. Andrew Dodge and Jacob Leore provided the offensive punch for St Charles, who had blanked the Knights 3-0 in round
robin play on Monday.
"The entire team play great defensively and Connor Blunt was exceptional in net, making some key saves in the last five minutes," noted Cardinals'
head coach Rob Zanatta.
The Sudbury sweep would be completed, at home, in somewhat astonishing fashion as the Confederation Chargers mandhandled the Korah Colts
9-4 in the boys "AAA/AAAA" NOSSA final to wrap things up at Countryside.
Brady Jones paced the Chargers attack with a hat-trick, with Andrew Mackinnon and Brandon Dumouchel adding two goals apiece.
Aaron Campbell and Russell Wilson rounded out the scoring for the winners, with Matt Diberardino (2), Aaron Savage and Jay
Johnson replying in a losing cause.
"I'm very proud of the way the guys performed tonight," said Confederation head coach Jamie Bouchard. "We had a game plan going in and we stuck to
the game plan as best we could." Already feeling the effects of the injury bug, the Colts were dealt a severe blow early in the game, losing the services
of starting netminder Zachary Quesnele.
"We wanted to keep the pressure on them all game, because we struggled a little bit finishing games down the stretch," added Bouchard. The NOSSA
championship provided a measure of redemption for a Chargers team that was eliminated in two very close games with the Lasalle Lancers in the SDSSAA
"That was a tough series," said Bouchard. "Lasalle just does not quit, as they showed here. They just keep coming and coming and coming." Confederation
needed a 2-1 victory over the Widdifield Wildcats earlier in the day to even advance to the finals after Lasalle had come back from a 3-0 deficit,
earning a 3-3 draw with Korah in their final round robin encounter.
For Bouchard, the meaning of this latest banner extends beyond simply the ensuing trip to OFSAA following the March break. "We're trying to change the
culture of the program a little bit at our school," said Bouchard.
"It's a good time to be a Charger." The St Charles and Confederation boys will travel to Burlington and Oakville from March 18th to the 21st to take
part in the all-Ontario championships, while Macdonald-Cartier, St Charles, Collège Notre-Dame and Marymount remain right at home for the 2014 OFSAA
Girls Hockey Championships taking place on the same dates in Sudbury.