The youngsters who form the lineup of the Rayside Balfour Novice Tigers will likely play in a number of NOHA Championships in the years to come - but few are going to be as memorable as the 2011 tournament in Haileybury.
The Tigers went undefeated over the weekend, capturing Gold in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 overtime win over the Temiskaming Shores Grant Fuels Puckhounds. The Rayside Novices started with a pair of solid defensive efforts, blanking both the Nickel Centre Flyers as well as the afore-mentioned Puckhounds.
Jacob Gaudet (Game MVP) and Joel Robillard scored in support of the shutout netminding of Mathieu Simon as Rayside Balfour slipped past Nickel Centre 2-0, while Gaudet would get the only goal of the game as the Tigers set the tone facing Temiskaming Shores for the first time.
Joel Coulombe (Game MVP) made it back to back shutouts for the Rayside goaltending tandem. The offense kicked it into high gear on Saturday as the Tigers bounced the Kapuskasing Little Devils 7-2, with Ethan Rogers enjoying a four-goal outing.
Déric Charbonneau (Game MVP) chipped in with two goals and an assist, while Robillard completed the scoring for head coach Tim Vaillancourt and company. The Tigers closed out their flawless round robin play with a 5-3 triumph over the Walden Devils as Gaudet paced the attack with a hat trick.
Rogers and Marc-André Pilon added solo markers, with Tyler Roussel earning Game MVP honours thanks to his solid overall play, recording his first point of the tournament in the process.
Facing the fourth place Flyers in semi-final action, Rayside Balfour made it look easy, stomping their Nickel District Minor Hockey League rivals 9-0 as Simon earned his second whitewash of the weekend.
Rogers chalked up three goals and an equal number of assists in walking away with the Game MVP award, with Robillard (2), Roussel (2), Martin Duhaime and Charbonneau rounding off the scoring.
The championship final against the Puckhounds would prove to be a classic. Trailing 1-0 late, the Tigers evened the contest at one as Rogers scored with 1:07 remaining and goaltender Coulombe sitting on the bench in favour of an extra attacker.
But the young puckstopper was front and center in overtime, making a great glove save with Temiskaming Shores on the power-play before Rogers settled matters, taking a pass from Charbonneau and netting a short-handed goal to lift the Tigers past the Puckhounds 2-1 at 2:59 of overtime.
The 2010-2011 roster for the Rayside Balfour Novice Tigers included Martin Duhaime, Kyle Charbonneau, Davis Kainola, Jacob Gaudet, Caleb Rainville, Ethan Rogers, Marc-André Pilon, Sébastien Chartrand, Kaden Vailllancourt, Joël Robillard, Tyler Roussel, Mathieu Simon, Joel Coulombe and Déric Charbonneau.
The staff featured Gary Roussel (Manager), Rick Gaudet (Assistant Coach), Tim Vaillancourt (Head Coach), Shayne Rogers (Assistant Coach), Wade Kainola (Assistant Coach), Al Robillard (Trainer) and Natalie Lessard (Co-Manager).