Confederation Chargers are on a roll as first half wraps up
by Randy Pascal
It's shaping up to be one heck of a final few months in the SDSSAA Boys Hockey League.
As the teams complete their full round robin and now separate into two divisions, rarely has the cut-off been more distinct. With a whole slew of parity
in both groupings, games in January and February, not to mention the playoffs, should be extremely exciting.
After suffering a 6-0 loss to the host team in the championship final of the St Charles College Invitational Tournament in Lively in November,
the Confederation Chargers have dusted themselves off in a big way.
With energetic Ethan Boyd leading the charge with a four-goal performance, the Chargers capped off the first half of their schedule with a huge 5-4
win over the Cardinals in Val Caron on Tuesday afternoon.
The result leaves Confederation sharing top spot with the Horizon Aigles at 9-1, with St Charles just two points back at 8-2. The Bishop
Carter Gators (6-3-1), Lo-Ellen Park Knights (5-3-1 - and with a game this evening against the 1-8 Lockerby Vikings) and the
St Benedict Bears (5-5-0) round out the top tier grouping.
While Boyd would net the first four goals for his team against SCC, it was Christian Gaudreau who would bury the game-winner, providing just
enough offense to topple a Cardinals' team which received goals from Cole Molyneaux, Riley Bridge, Matty Belanger and Ayden Popowich.
"The morale in the dressing room is great, people are starting to come together," said Boyd, following the game. "At the Lively tournament, with that
6-0 game, it was getting negative on the bench, and that kind of kills us."
"Right now, everyone is pumped. They scored the opening goal today and everyone still stayed positive. That helps." The Chargers boast arguably the top
offensive trio in the league with the line of Boyd, Gaudreau and Landon Thomson.
The unit collected 10 points in the win, with each bringing something a little different to the mix. "Christian is a bigger, stronger guy who can shoot
the puck really well," said Boyd. "Landon is a more skillful guy, great hands. The shooting is insane with that guy."
"For me, I'm more physical, grinding. It all comes together to make a great line." The Chargers were coming off a big tournament win in North Bay earlier
this month, the first time since 1997 that Confederation has captured the NDA (Nipissing District Association) Tournament.
The locals doubled the Algonquin Barons 6-3 in the finals, surviving tough match-ups in both the quarter-finals against Horizon, and the semis
against the Central Algoma Huskies.
In fact, things were so close that all four teams in the division which included the Confederation Chargers finished preliminary round play with identical
records of 1-1-1. "Colton Blay was the tournament MVP for his play at both ends of the rink," noted Confederation head coach, Dave Lefebvre.
"He's become a shut down penalty killer who can pop them in if given too much room." Confederation goal scorers in the final included Christian Gaudreau,
Ethan Boyd, Aiden Chmielak, Braeden Boissoneau, Robert Jokinen and Colton Blay.
The league is so tight that even games that appear to be blowouts are deceiving. The Lo-Ellen Park Knights recorded a key 8-1 win over St Benedict on
Monday night in an encounter in which the Knights held a slim 2-1 lead heading into the final period.
Goals by Josh Boucher, Evan Gedye and Jake Bennett in the opening five minutes or so of the third sealed the fate of the Bears, as Lo-Ellen received
two-goal performances from both Matty Allen and Luca Nardi.
Kurtis Wennerstrom capped off the outburst with the final goal for the winners, with Jordan Pincivero countering in the first period for