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Speed, grit and goaltending go a long way with U11 Rockhounds
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With every single runner on their 12 man roster scoring at least one goal and goaltender Wyatt Williams holding his own with the very best keepers in the province, the Sudbury U11 Rockhounds were winning tournament games and climbing the rankings this past week.

Taking part in the Boyd Balkwill Memorial Tournament in Orillia last weekend, the locals advanced all the way to the finals, dropping a 5-4 overtime heartbreaker to the host team but opening some eyes in the process.

The Rockhounds got their feet moving quickly, thumping the Huntsville Hawks 12-4 in game one as Kaesen Adair and Karson Ferguson both netted hat tricks while Clark Montgomery chipped in with a two-goal effort.

Solo tallies came courtesy of Daxton Wabano, Keenan Joyce, Laughlin Hagen and Arlo Angus.

The wide spread goal scoring distribution would continue in game two as Oliver Brunetti, Cédric Poulin and Jarrett Marshall joined in on the fun, finding the back of the net once each with Angus (2) and Adair closing things out in a 6-1 triumph over the Oakville Hawks #2.

The first match-up with the Orillia Kings featured six goals in all, but only two goals scorers. Ben Anderson handled all of the scoring for the hometown Kings, putting up a four-spot with Kaesen Adair countering with half that many in a 4-2 loss to Orillia.

The U11 Rockhounds bounced back nicely to close out round robin play, besting Six Nations #2 7-3 on goals from Adair (3), Brunetti (2), Ferguson and Marshall.

The final player to jump aboard the snipe parade was Hector Medland, who ironically scored one of the team's biggest goals, giving Sudbury a 4-3 third period lead over Orillia before Anderson strutted his stuff again, drilling home both the game-tying and game-winning strikes.

Rounding out the scoring for the Rockhounds were Kaesen Adair, Clark Montgomery and Cédric Poulin.

"We competed against some very strong southern Ontario teams (Oakville and Orillia most notably) - and I think we surprised a lot of people," noted Sudbury head coach B.J. Adair. "The level of compete and grit and determination that the Sudbury boys showed was incredible."

As for the secret of his team's success, Adair outlined a few key facets of the game. "We have stellar goaltending with Wyatt (Williams); he rarely gives up a weak goal."

"Our boys are athletic and quick; we have some extremely fast boys. When they get the ball, they're gone. On defense, they battle."

The end result is that the team now ranks 22nd of the 69 U11 teams in the province, a "B" division slot that is pretty much unheard of in these parts at this age group. The Rockhounds will have one more tournament test in Gloucester, before Provincials in August, with the game plan already laid out for the next eight weeks.

"We will continue with the basics: the passing and catching and setting up our offense," said Adair. "Then, we'll look to run some really specific pieces and try and make sure there are no holes in our defense. If we give Wyatt a chance to see the ball, he will make the save."

Sudbury Wolves