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Sudbury lacrosse success measured in silver in Gloucester

The Sudbury U22 Rockhounds will now cross their fingers and toes and hope to fall on the right side of the cut line.

With OLA (Ontario Lacrosse Association) provincials less than a month away, the Rockhounds will either be a top contending team in the "C" Division or a crew that will face a very stiff challenge near the bottom of the Division "B" ranks.

The separation was evident again last weekend as coach Mike Miron and company attended the Ray Broadworth Memorial Tournament in Gloucester.

Ranked ninth of the 22 competing teams on the My LAX Rankings website, the Rockhounds took care of business against both the # 17 West Grey Rampage (6-2 - Ben Harris (2), Alex Hachez, Jack Gouchie, Max Vendette, Blake Ramalho) and # 12 Akwesasne Storm (4-1 - Jacob Barney (2), Ashton Eadie-Chartrand, Joe Gouchie).

Facing the #2 Gloucester Griffins, the Sudbury lads were spanked the first time around, beaten 9-2 as Alex Hachez and Jacob Barney found the back of the net for the northern squad.

Come playoff time, the Rockhounds doubled the Storm, 6-3, with Xavier Esquimaux-Osawamick, Kai D'Amour and Keegan Esquimaux-Osawamick all scoring their first goals of the weekend, joined on the sheer by Jacob Barney, Alex Hachez and Ben Harris.

No surprise that the Griffins would also advance to the final, though this was a much more interesting affair as Sudbury led 1-0 after the first (Ben Harris with a PP goal), trailed 2-1 after two and kept it within a goal until the final nine minutes.

Jack Gouchie would get one back for the locals but Gloucester would add three more for a 5-2 victory, the GSLA (Greater Sudbury Lacrosse Association) reps settling for silver.

Just 16 years old and not looked upon to carry the team at this point, Kai D'Amour brings what he can to the table as one of the younger athletes on the Sudbury roster. "Lacrosse is a very creative sport and I like to create some moves, stuff like that," he said.

"If I have two or three guys on me, I can kind of get out of it, move the ball to somebody else. I have a pretty good shot, my passing I am pretty good at, but my biggest strength is my ability to get out of situations."

With no GSLA rep team in his age bracket last year, D'Amour is finding that he's had to play catchup in a sport that his mom just kind of signed him up for, out of the blue, at age 11 - but one which he clearly loves.

"I would play in my yard and stuff, but actually playing with the older kids, it was asking a lot," he said. "Almost everything felt a little weird: shooting, passing, everything. I had to get my groove back."

Whether the team slots in at B or C, D'Amour does not believe their game plan will vary greatly come time for the all-Ontario showdown in Whitby. "Moving the ball is a big one for us," he said. "We're really good at moving the ball, finding the open guy and getting shots on net."

More in the days to come on both the U11 and U13 Rockhounds, both of whom also participated in the Broadworth Tournament

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