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Minor hockey as busy as ever at this time of year

Christmas may be less than a week away, but all the young hockey players in the area must be doing their shopping in between their busy schedules on the ice.

Local rinks were bustling nearly as much as the malls this past weekend, with a wide assortment of games in both the Nickel District Minor Hockey League, as well as the Northeast Houseleague.

Pierson Sobush scored three times in the first period alone on Saturday, leading the Sudbury Minor Peewee "AA" Wolves to a 4-3 win over the Copper Cliff Redmen. Though Sobush handled the bulk of the scoring for the Wolves, it was Marco Vallilee who netted the actual game-winning goal, drifting a shot through a maze of players on a third period power play opportunity.

Dominik Brunette-Royer, Ryan Vendette and Rowan Mullin Santone replied for the Redmen, who now trail the Wolves by two points in league standings. In Novice action, the Nickel City Novice "A" Stars trimmed the Copper Cliff Select Sevens 3-2 in Hanmer, as Martin Brassard, George Matsos and Owen Perron all pulled the trigger for the winners.

Copper Cliff countered with goals from Liam Judd and Mason Walker, with Judd converting while the Select Sevens enjoyed the man advantage. Still at Centennial Arena, the Nickel City Minor Atom "A" North Stars received a two-goal effort from Marc Smith in doubling the Nickel City Devils 6-3.

Goals from Zackery Lepage, Miles Schiewek, Brady Soucy and Ryan Lavallee, into an empty-net, capped off the attack for the North Stars, who are off to the International Silver Stick next month, after claiming their divisional banner a few weeks back in Sudbury.

Bradley Kiviaho, Ryan Ricci and Ethan Lowe answered for the Devils, one of five teams within five points of one another in the middle of the NDMHL Atom Division II standings.

Meanwhile in Coniston, NEHL play was front and centre, including a pair of bantam battles that finished with identical scores of 3-1. Logan Acaster snapped a 1-1 tie with a power play goal in the second period, and then sealed the victory with a tally into an deserted cage as the Sudbury Bulldogs #1 downed the Valley East Renegades.

Jason Diotte (Sudbury) and Brady McLoughlin (Valley East) traded goals early in the middle frame, after the teams went scoreless through the opening period of play.

Noah Funnell scored once with his team short-handed, and assisted on the remaining two goals as the Walden IDA Pharmacy Jets knocked off the Sudbury 80's Red Wings. Matthew Merrylees and Victor Paajanen joined Funnell on the scoresheet for Walden, with Braden Allen firing the only puck that would elude Jets' netminder Josh Funnell.

Finally, a four-goal second period outburst allowed the Sudbury Peewee Timberwolves to stop Valley East King Sportwear 5-1, with Collin-James Newbury leading the charge with a pair of markers.

Zacharie Savard, Maxwell Howard and Eric Valiquette capped off the offensive festivities for the T-Wolves, with Logan Boyd managing the only goal for the visitors from Valley East.

The schedule in both the NDMHL and NEHL does slow down over the next two weeks, though games are scheduled for pretty much all dates with the exception of December 24th to the 26th, and December 31st-January 1st.

Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League