Maybe it's time for a sequel to Miracle on Ice, the movie that captured the improbable gold medal run of Team USA at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.
The 2021-2022 Nickel City U13 A Sharks could certainly make a case for their script, given their stunning NOHA Tournament of Champions showing in New Liskeard last weekend.
Certainly, the Sharks were were more than competitive against most of the eight team field, witnessed by day one victories over both the Manitoulin Panthers (2-1) and Kapuskasing Icehawks (4-2) as goaltenders Jacob Beaudet and Amelie Gervais backstopped the locals, facing plenty of rubber along the way.
But as is so often the case in "A" hockey in the north, all it takes is a couple of AA/AAA talents from smaller centres to tip the scales in their favour, with the Sharks dropping a 9-1 decision to the Cochrane Cubs to start day two but bouncing back nicely with a 1-1 tie with the Copper Cliff Reds, enough to earn the team a semi-final berth opposite the undefeated host team, the Temiskaming Shores Puckhounds.
In racking up four straight wins, the Tri-Towns crew had outscored their opponents 29-4, with few folks on hand giving the Sharks much of a chance at all of advancing to play for gold.
But with Beaudet sparkling between the pipes and his teammates providing the necessary offense, Nickel City blanked Temiskaming Shores 3-0, punching their ticket both to the NOHA finals and also to the OHF Championships later this month, with the event set to take place in Cochrane.
The Sharks mounted all of their offense in the third period of play, with Max Jouppi scoring twice and Joseph Leduc adding the other.
Still, the playoff upset understandably drained the Sudbury area crew emotionally, trailing the Cochrane Cubs 3-1 with two minutes to play in the final, with only Carter Ellsworth finding the back of the net for Nickel City.
Cue the inspirational speech by from Herb Brooks of Team USA.
Digging deep, the Sharks somehow managed to pull even on goals from Zachary Arsenault and Evan Ouimet, sending the game to overtime where Max Jouppi buried the game-winning tally, capping off a Cinderella story like few others seen in these parts for quite some time.
The 2021-2022 NOHA Champion Nickel City U13 A Sharks team boasts a roster of Kayden Tonin, Andrew Michaud, Joseph Leduc, Adrian Cecchetto, Jackson Bentley, Jordyn Hampel, Evan Ouimet, Dawson Dumont, Kale St-Onge, Carter Ellsworth, Zachary Arsenault, Lowell Huskinson, Gregory Patrie, Lucas Rocca, Max Jouppi and goaltenders Jacob Beaudet and Amelie Gervais.
The team coaching staff includes Steven Fraser, Andre Leduc, Jake Jouppi, Yves Gervais, Scott Bentley and goalie coach Emily O'Bright.
The Sharks will now join the Cochrane Cubs as well as representatives from the GTHL (Greater Toronto Hockey League), the OMHA (Ontario Minor Hockey Association) and Alliance Hockey (southwestern Ontario), battling it out at the Tim Horton Events Centre on the weekend of April 22nd to the 24th.