Sudbury DS peewees Definitely Special
by Randy Pascal
Folks involved with the Brampton Canadettes Girls Hockey Tournament over Easter weekend have long billed the event as the largest female hockey tournament in the
world, and the Sudbury District Girls Hockey Association have long been supportive participants.
Each and every year, SDGHA teams will make the trek home, Easter Monday, with trophies and/or banners in hand.
Thanks to a run of seven consecutive victories, the SDGHA DS (Developmental Select) Peewee Lady Wolves were among that assembly of champions this year. The DS
designation, instituted by the OWHA (Ontario Women's Hockey Association), allows for local groups to bring together what are effectively houseleague
all-star teams to faceoff against similar units from elsewhere in the province.
That concept played well in this particular division, with the Lady Wolves enjoying several stiff tests en route to glory. Sudbury opened with a 2-1 win
over the Oakville Hornets as goals from Kalia Pharand and Hannah Sullivan staked goaltender Valerie Raymond to just enough
offense for victory.
The next two outings were a touch more comfortable as Sudbury blanked the Kitchener Lady Rangers 4-0, before also keeping the slate clean, at their
end of the ice, in game three.
Olivia Whitton recorded the first of the back to back shutouts for the Lady Wolves, with Kalia Pharand (2), Mya Ricci and Gracie Dale
accounting for the scoring, with Pharand raising her weekend output to five goals, later on Saturday, showing the way in a 5-0 whitewashing of the Whitby
Maya Flores, Isabelle Kellestine and Jillian Landry rounded out the scoring, while netminder Valerie Raymond followed seamlessly in the
footsteps of partner Olivia Whitton from the previous game.
As expected, the playoff round ramped up the intensity, as the Lady Wolves were forced to survive the scare of a 3-2 overtime triumph over the Kanata
Rangers just to remain in the hunt for what would eventually become gold medals.
Kalia Pharand scored twice, including the game-winner in the extra session, after Jillian Landry opened the scoring, advancing the northern crew through
to the semi-finals.
A total team effort was key to the Sudbury road to the finals as the Lady Wolves blanketed the Nepean Wildcats in all three zones on the ice,
registering a 2-0 win on goals from Kendra Cole and Hannah Sullivan, and yet another solid outing between the pipes from Valerie Raymond.
Heading into an all-Wolves championship encounter, coach Eric Parisé and company knew full well that they would be facing a highly motivated
Whitby squad, one that understood they had played their worst game of the tournament when the two teams met in round robin action.
The teams traded goals in the first period, with Pharand pulling the trigger, yet again, for Sudbury, a score that persisted until the Lady Wolves were
assessed the only penalty of the contest, late in period two.
In a fortunate twist of fate, it would be the locals that would capitalize as Peyton Gillis outraced a Whitby defender, burying a short-handed
tally that would stand as the game-winning goal.
Only after Whitton came through with a spectacular breakaway glove save in the dying minutes of the match, and Pharand capped off her highly productive
trip south, finding the back of the empty-net, could the Sudbury girls breathe easy, downing the Whitby Wolves 3-1 in a very well-played final.
A very interesting side-note to this team is the fact that while it is crystal clear that Kalia Pharand can more than handle her own as a forward at
this level of hockey, the talented youngster has also backstopped a very successful Nickel City Major Atom "AA" Jr Sons' team as well the past few,
years, looking even more impressive while donning her goalie equipment.
The SDGHA DS Peewee roster featured Gracie Dale, Addison Parise, Izabella Carter, Isabelle Kellestine, Hannah Sullivan, Jillian Landry, Kendra
Cole, Peyton Gillis, Mya Ricci, Kalia Pharand, Alivia Restoule, Olivia Whitton, Grace Hallett, Caitlyn Sloan, Valerie Raymond, Maya Flores
and Emma Mathieu.
Joining head coach Eric Parisé as part of the team staff are assistant coaches Andrew Dale, Marc Pharand, Kurt Gillis and Richard Raymond,
trainer Jamie Ricci and team manager Nancy Pharand.