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Nickel Centre Winterblast draws from far and wide

A total of 65 teams, including no less than 33 from outside of City of Greater Sudbury, formed the field for the annual Nickel Centre Winterblast houseleague hockey tournament.

When the dust settled, the local crew enjoyed bragging rights across a number of age brackets, starting with the tyke final, as Chase Baronette scored midway through the third period, lifting the Coniston Timbits past the Thessalon Eagles 3-2.

Brayden Baronette accounted for the first two markers for the winners, while Jeremy Jarratt and Kash Seabrook answered for the Eagles. The Thessalon crew would not return home empty-handed, however, as the Novice Eagles edged the Nickel Centre Ice Dogs, also by a final score of 3-2.

Gabriel Stewart enjoyed a two-goal performance for the Eagles, with Wyatt Jarratt adding a solo tally, while Kieran McCoy and Cameron Quesnel countered for the Dogs.

The Mattawa Rockets proved to be the class of the atom division, largely due to the offensive talents of Denver Landriault. The young sniper scored four times, helping Mattawa double the Powassan Hawks 4-2, with Titan Belanger replying twice in a losing cause.

Valley East Cousin Vinny's gave themselves very little margin for error in taking the peewee crown, cutting it awfully close in their last two games. Clinton Corbett netted the game's only goal with about four minutes to play in the semi-final battle with Valley East King Sportswear, as Cousin Vinny's advanced to the gold medal game with a 1-0 whitewash of their home association rivals.

Facing the Nickel Centre Sting a few hours later, Corbett traded second period goals with Dominick Gignac of the Sting, before Martin Boisvert settled matters in the final minute of play, draining the game-winner with 42 seconds showing on the clock.

The Sudbury Minor Hockey Association would see one banner going their way, courtesy of the Bantam OPP Strike Force, who defeated the Rayside-Balfour Tigercats 7-2.

Chase Bonhomme and Tristan Day scored twice each for the SMHA reps, with Chad Cardinal, Carter Hart and Nicholas Narozanski capping things off, while Joshua Gagné and Sébastien Whissell found the back of the net for the Cats.

In the Minor Midget final, Connor MacNeill snapped a 1-1 tie with 3:37 remaining in regulation time, propelling Valley East Metro to a 2-1 triumph over the Nickel Centre Sting.

Carter Gosselin broke the ice for the Sting, scoring in the opening stanza, with Adam Young getting that one back some three minutes later.

Finally, a pair of goals from Erik Roussel spelled the difference for the Nickel Centre Rocks - Blue in the Major Midget finale, upending Val D'Or 3-1. Justin Gibeault (Rocks) and Nathan Boudreau (Val D'Or) had traded goals earlier in the game.

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