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U11 Rockhounds battle their way through adversity

If adversity breeds character, then Sudbury U11 Rockhounds head coach Michael Wilson will have bucketloads of character on his bench in the years to come.

Still trying to determine their exact competitive level on a provincial scale all while having to simply deal with the opponents that stand before them, the U11 Rockhounds have taken it on the chin in a handful of outings over the course of the past two weekends.

"The teams we have faced may have had bigger benches, but these kids have the biggest hearts," said coach Wilson proudly. "I have watched them deal with injuries from high hits, slashes, checks from behind and blocked shots and still, collectively, they found a way to keep pushing through until the last minute of each and every game."

"They are an absolute pleasure to coach and I can't wait to see what they can do come provincials."

With goaltender Jack Wilson falling ill in the opening minutes of game one at the Ray Broadworth Memorial Tournament in Gloucester this weekend, Ben Hepting stepped in, valiently giving his team a shot in an eventual 12-9 loss to the Nepean Knights.

Hector Medland was on fire for the local crew, netting no less than six goals with Bo Michelutti chipping in with a pair and Daxton Wabano capping things off.

A slow start versus the Kahnawake Mohawks saw the Sudbury lads trailing 5-0 after the opening frame but trading goals more evenly in the second as the team fell to 0-2.

Hector Medland recorded the hat-trick in a losing cause, joined on the scoresheet by both Jimmy Simpson and Daxton Wabano while coach Wilson noted the efforts of Blake Dumont on the defensive side of the ledger.

With little to nothing left in the tank for game three, the Rockhounds were dusted soundly by the Gloucester Griffins as Sudbury goals came from Bo Michelutti and Hector Medland.

Just a week earlier, the U11 Rockhounds were able to keep pace with the Griffins in a semi-final battle while hosting the Gloucester crew as part of the field to the 2024 Nickel City Shootout, beaten 10-6 by the national capital contingent.

A four goal performance from Hector Medland helped keep things close, with Daxton Wabano and Jimmy Simpson finding the back of the net once each.

A forgettable opening match with a very strong Whitby Warriors' squad would be followed by a tremendous bounce-back effort as the Rockhounds doubled the North Perth Outlaws 10-5.

Hector Medland was a one-man wrecking crew, drilling home no less than eight goals with Daxton Wabano and Bo Michelutti adding the others.

A lopsided loss to Gloucester would give way to a scare for the visitors on Sunday morning as the Rockhounds kept things close well into the final period of play.

The balance of the Sudbury roster includes Nwabdasse Trudeau, Justin Gouin, Msko Ashawasega, Luna Bertrand-Thrush and Blair Simerson.

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