Lopsided wins might be confidence but it was the ability to pull out a victory in the close ones that served the Nickel City U11 AA Jr Sons particularly well last weekend, returning home as champions after competing in the Mary Parkinson Memorial AA Tournament in Richmond Hill.
A two-goal effort for Jonny Croome helped lift the Jr Sons to a 3-2 opening game triumph over the Halton Hills Thunder, with André Beaudry capping off the scoring and netminder Brayden Bouillon coming through with the key saves, when needed.
From there, the floodgates bursted wide open, offensively speaking, for the Nickel City squad.
Posting back to back shutouts over the Northumberland Night Hawks (6-0) and Caldeon Hawks (10-0), the U11 reps received contributions from right across the roster, most notably in the scoring parade: Koewan Cooper (3), Cameron Roy (2), Myles Talbot (2), Jonny Croome (2), Alex Carriere, Tyler Boivin, Max Thompson, Blake Dubois, Kaleb Pitre, William Ranger, André Beaudry - all one goal each.
Looking a little tired (according to the coaches) and facing likely their stiffest test to date, Nickel City pulled out a 2-2 tie with the TNT Tornadoes thanks to a late goal from Kaleb Pitre, with Koewan Cooper opening the scoring for the Sons.
The win not only clinched first place in their pool but also matched the Sons opposite a very familiar foe. Three quick goals (André Beaudry, Cameron Roy, Coen Chrétien) and the second shutout of the weekend for Brayden Bouillon propelled coach Joey Talbot and company to a 3-0 whitewashing of the Copper Cliff Reds in an all-NOHA semi-final affair.
Naturally, the Jr Sons circled right back to where they started, the Halton Hills Thunder awaiting them in the championship final. A tentative start would see the locals trailing 2-0 before turning things around, literally one shift at a time.
The Nickel City lads were rewarded for their perseverance as Cooper banked a shot off the Thunder goalie, with Talbot drawing the assist. A breakaway tally from André Beaudry left the teams deadlocked at 2-2 heading to the third.
Despite killing off the bulk of a double minor head contact infraction in the third, the Jr Sons were victimized for a go-ahead Halton Hills' goal, before Blake Dubois forced overtime thanks to a lucky break, his long dump-in finding its way through the smallest of holes, into the back of the net.
Three on three at this age seldom lasts long and this one was no different as a nifty pokecheck from Beaudry sprung Croome and Talbot on a two on one, the pair converting to perfection as the Nickel City Jr Sons pulled out a hard fought 3-2 win.
Rounding out the U11 AA Jr Sons roster are goaltender Carter Deschenes and defensemen Callum St Jean, Marc Corson and Reid Bentley.
The team staff includes Joey Talbot, Yves Beaudry, Scott Cooper, Brad Croome, Casey Thompson, Cody Hall and Dylan Williams.