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Buttle and Vachon shine for Sudbury on an international stage - in 2003!
Roundcube Webmail :: This Week in Sports looks back on the week of November 1st to November 9th, 2003

Local figure skating sensation Jeff Buttle provided far and away the biggest surprise at the Mastercard Skate CanadaInvitational in Mississauga, finishing second only to Russian Evgeni Plushenko in the men's event.

Ranked second in Canada and finishing in 15th place at the 2003 Worlds, Buttle outskated many more experienced skaters, posting an overall score of 209.63, still well back of Plushenko (233.65).

"I felt really comfortable out there," said Buttle. "The audience was so warm and I was able to feed off that energy. I've been practising great all week, so to be able to go out there and compete the way I practised was a big step."


It turns out that Jeffrey Buttle is not the only local athlete making Sudburians proud on the international stage. Nineteen year-old gymnast Denis Vachon would lead a young Canadian contingent to a gold medal in the men's double mini-trampoline competition at the World Gymnastics Championships in Germany last month.

Vachon, who now trains out of Burlington, would join forces with 29 year-old veteran Chris Mitruz and teenagers Adam Menzies and Bryan Milonja, earning 96.10 points, just ahead of both the US (95.50) and Germany (95.0).

"I was nervous," admitted Vachon. "It was the most stress I had in my entire life. But overall, I loved it. It was a great rush."

Vachon also competed individually as part of the tumbling team, finishing 28th of 70 athletes who took part in his grouping. "Being that it was my first worlds, I am more than pleased with that," he said.

"A Russian won the event and he's 37 years old. My time will come down the road." The next set of World Gymnastics Championships are scheduled for 2007 in Quebec City, with Vachon also targetting the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing among his personal goals.


The annual Big Nickel Hockey Tournament is underway, with the Sudbury Lockerby Confectionary bantams making their way to the playoff round thanks to a 4-1 win over the Clarington Toros, combined with a 1-1 draw with the Brantford 99'ers.

Sudbury jumped out to leads of 1-0 and 3-0 after the first and second period, as Justin Hogan, Chuck Carre, Max Mimeault and Chris Pontes all found the back of the net for the winners. Speedy forward Vern Cooper accounted for the only Lockerby goal in game two.

The team would fall 4-1 in a quarter-final rematch with Brantford, though the goaltending tandem of Shawn Sirman and Alain Valiquette topped the divisional goals against average race, posting a miserly mark of 0.667 goals against/game.

The remaining local teams faced challenges hitting the win column on Friday, as tallies from Justin Villeneuve and Joel Villeneuve helped the Valley East Cobras earn a tie (2-2) opposite the Nepean Raiders.


With new head coach Mike Foligno at the helm, the Sudbury Wolves have struggled on the road out of the gate in this 2003-2004 campaign. A 4-2 loss to the Barrie Colts made it eight straight setbacks away from home for the local juniors, leaving the team with a composite mark of 5-11-0.

Barrie rookie sensation Bryan Little recorded the first two goals for the home side, spoiling yet another strong start for Wolves' import netminder Patrick Ehelechner.

Still, the young Wolves battled back as local product Bobby Chaumont evened the contest after two periods of play with a two goal effort of his own.

The score remained tied at two until the latter stages of period three, when Ryan Hamilton capitalized on a bad line change and Scott Hotham ice the contest with an empty-net marker.

"We didn't have a very good start," said coach Foligno. "They came at us with a lot of pressure, but Ehelechner was outstanding in goal for us. We were able to hold the fort and get back into the game."

"But sometimes, it's a mental mistake that can cause the game to turn one way or the other."


The Sudbury Northern Wolves extended their current unbeaten streak to 15 games over the weekend, stopping the Abitibi Eskimos 6-4 in Iroquois Falls Saturday night.

Dan Bourgeois scored twice, including the game-winner late in the middle stanza, while Christian Cundari, Mike Mills, Jeffrey Christison and Brian McGarry chipped in with one goal apiece, making a winner of starting netminder Kevin Beech.

Meanwhile, the Manitoulin Wild stunned the North Bay Skyhawks Friday night in Little Current, edging the front-runners 2-1 when Josh Bigras ended matters at the 2:14 mark of overtime.

The goal was a welcomed relief for Wild puck-stopper Matt George, with North Bay outshooting Manitoulin 42-18 as Robert Fogarty (Wild) and Tyler Eady (Skyhawks) traded goals in regulation time.


Despite posting a record of 2-5-1 in OCAA women's soccer play this fall, Cambrian Golden Shield head coach Craymer Forth was still recognized by his peers, selected as the OCAA East Division Coach of the Year.

"It was a little bit of a surprise, since the coaches select this," acknowledged Forth. "My take is that we must have been competitive enough, won enough games and did enough for them to think that I am pretty good anyways."

Taking a rookie-laden team into battle, Forth and the Shield dropped a pair of 1-0 games on late markers, and also settled for a 1-1 tie with the Mohawk Mountaineers when their opponent scored in the dying minutes.

"We're not far off," suggested Forth. "We have excellent goaltending and good experience now. Lisa Martin showed that she's an excellent soccer player in her first year this year. We're going to have a good, solid team next year."


The Lockerby Vikings girls flag football team saved their best for last.

Finishing fourth in regular season play, the Vikes reeled off back to back playoff upsets, bouncing the first place College Notre-Dame Alouettes 7-0 earlier this week before edging the Lasalle Lancers 2-0 in a highly defensive tilt on Thursday.

"Lasalle beat us pretty good in the regular season," said Lockerby senior Sarah Wendler. "And Notre-Dame did too, but we always come back."

The game's only two points both came via a rouge on a punt, with Lockerby kicker Caroilyn Truskoski doing the honours. This marked the third time that Lockerby has laid claim to the city banner, including in a 6-1 win over Lasalle in 2002.

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