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Slow start buries OHF host Copper Cliff crew

The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Championships may not have gone the way that the Copper Cliff U13 AA Reds would have liked, but the memories of a pretty special season should linger for a while.

Hosting the all-Ontario playdowns this weekend at the McClelland Arena, the locals failed to hit the win column, though a pair of 3-2 losses against the Aurora Tigers and Mississauga Beast easily could have gone the other way.

A newcomer to the team this year, Connor Nicholson netted one of his team's two goals in the finale opposite the Tigers, capping off a year in which the 12 year old grade seven student at St Benedict Elementary School was named team captain.

"I had never met any of these people, but I made a couple of friends to start off and now everybody is my friend," said Nicholson. "I listened to the coaches a lot, made sure I was doing exactly what they were saying."

"If I didn't know, then I would ask them questions, just to make sure I understood them."

Though he started at centre and eventually moved to right wing, Nicholson did spend most of the 2021-2022 campaign with linemates Ryan Corrigan and Nolan Larche, the latter who found the back of the net versus the Beast.

"Ryan can win all the draws and Connor is a really good scorer," said Larche, also in grade seven but over in New Sudbury at Ecole FĂ©lix-Ricard. "I can get in the corners and battle in front of the net - and sometimes burn some guys with my speed."

Where this particular dressing room marked new territory for Nicholson, Larche felt a great deal of ease, even in this strangest of years. "I've played with most of the team for four years now," he said.

"There's a couple of new players on the team. It took a couple of weeks to get used to the new faces in the room but eventually, we all bonded together and started working as a team."

After struggling to create offense on opening day and surrendering too many goals to even keep things close versus the NOHA champion Soo Jr Greyhounds and London Jr Knights, the Copper Cliff crew were far more competitive on day two, with Alexander Wierzbicki and Connor Paris rounding out the scoring for the host team.

The remainder of the locals lineup features Lukah Labrecque, Alex Simons, Rylan Aube, Cameron Bernstein, Hudson Teddy, Declan McGonegal, Harrison Markiewich, Landen Lake, Max O'Kane, Avery Cassivi, Jonathan Tripodi and Landen Creasey.