When it came to finding parity within the Bantam “D” Division at the Ontario Lacrosse Festival last weekend, organizers with the OLA (Ontario Lacrosse Association) absolutely nailed it, with the Sudbury Rockhounds and 15 other entries the ultimate beneficiaries.
No less than 23 games contested in this grouping in Whitby between August 2nd and August 4th were decided by two goals or less, including every single outing for coach Mathew Barney and his local troops.
The Bantam Rockhounds compiled a round robin record of 1-0-2, good enough to secure second place in their bracket before dropping a 5-3 decision in the quarter-finals to the North Perth Outlaws, the team that would eventually win it all, slipping past the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves 2-1 in the divisional final.
Spotting the Shelburne Vets an early 3-0 lead in game one, the Sudbury lads battled their way back, earning a 5-5 draw as Ashton Eadie (2), Jacob Barney, Noah Larcher and Alex Hachez led the way offensively in the come-from-behind tie.
Another slow start for the Rockhounds in game two as the team scored four times in the middle frame, adding two more in the third in earning a 6-4 victory over the West Durham Rockmen. Ashton Eadie increases his day one output to five goals, burying the hat trick, with Alex Hachez, Jacob Barney and Stephen Rathwell rounding out the attack.
Eadie was a one-man wrecking crew as his team closed out pool play with a 4-4 game Saturday morning against the Cambridge Chiefs, with the local sniper in on all four goals. His helper on a marker from Joe Gouchie combined with his three goal effort would help Eadie and his mates move on to the final eight.
Unfortunately, that was the end of the line as the third hat trick of the tournament for Ashton Eadie helped keep things close, but not close enough, as the Bantam Rockhounds were sent packing with a 5-3 loss to the North Perth Outlaws.
“Usually, this is a one-sided tournament, with only a few teams that are favoured to win,” noted coach Barney. “It was a little different this time around at provincials. Each of the 16 teams that was at the tournament was pretty evenly matched. It all depended on which team stayed composed and out of the penalty box.”
As for his prolific scoring talent, Barney was quick to note that Eadie could easily find himself quite at home a few rungs of the ladder further up than the Bantam "D" cluster in which the Rockhounds are quite competitive.
"He is a well-rounded player," noted his coach. "He could play for the best teams in the province, he's that good. He's a phenomenal player."
The Sudbury roster also featured Kiaus Lalonde, Mason Robertson, Cody Wahl, Matteo Guerin, Jack Gouchie, Austin Arlt, Caden McDonald, Andrew Whitehouse, Owen Chamberlain, Jimmy Bourgeois, Kenneth MacNeil, Maxwell Vendette and Brodie Nebonaionoquet.
A very young Sudbury Peewee Rockhounds team had a little bit tougher go of it at provincials, defeated in a pair of close outings en route to an 0-3-0 record in preliminary round play and elimination from the final eight.
Leading 2-1 after one period of play in their opening encounter, courtesy of goals from Kai D'Amour and Keegan Adair, the Rockhounds were unable to hold on, doubled 4-2 by the Cambridge Chiefs on Friday morning.
Pitted against the highest ranked Peewee “D” team later that day, the locals again struggled to maintain their pace, deadlocked 2-2 heading into the middle stanza before surrendering five unanswered goals over the final two periods of play and falling 7-2 to the Simcoe Timberwolves. Nolan Schiewek and Xavier Esquimaux-Osawamick handled the scoring for head coach B.J. Adair and company.
Playing for pride on Saturday morning, the Rockhounds remained true to the established pattern, locked in a 2-2 tie with the Stayner Hitmen after the first, but faltering by a final count of 6-4 as the final buzzer sounded. Captain Kai D'Amour paced the attack with a pair of goals in a losing cause, joined on the scoresheet by both Luca Mallozzi and Jeremy Rhéaume.
“Overall, the season was a collective success for a team that had five new players join rep lacrosse for the very first time,” noted coach Adair. “They grew as a team over the year and turned a number of heads with their overall winning record.”
Rounding out the 2019 Peewee Rockhounds roster were goaltender Braeden Paradis, Berkley Pitura, Allaura Peltier-Restoule, Caleb Mead, Mitchell Vendette, Cameron Seguin, Joe Johnson, Matti Jouppi, Alex Rietze and novice call-up Hunter Currie.******************************
It looks like Garrett Rank was only just warming up recently in Sudbury.
The two-time winner of the Idylwylde Invitational, who knocked off older brother Kyle last month in northern Ontario, added an even more prestigious title to his impressive golf resume this weekend.
The full-time NHL referee and native of Elmira (Ontario) captured the 117th Western Amateur match play tournament, stopping recent Ohio State graduate Daniel Wetterich in the final, three and two, at the Point O' Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Now 31 years of age, Rank became the first mid-amateur to secure the George R. Thorne Trophy in more than 20 years, coming from behind in all four of his matches after finishing fifth overall in stroke play on Thursday.
If one wonders exactly how big a deal this victory is, consider, for a moment, that former tournament champions include Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Curtis Strange, Tom Weiskopf and Ben Crenshaw, as well as the last Canadian to accomplish the feat, Jim Nelford.
Still with golf, a pair of local players have some heavy lifting ahead if they want to make the cut at the 2019 Canadian Men's Amateur Golf Championship, which kicked off Monday in Nova Scotia.
Evan MacLean fired a round of 79, leaving him tied for 121st place, with Ward Kyle two shots back (81) in 133rd, as the field of 260 or so competitors gets trimmed down to the top 70 or so following round two action yesterday.******************************
Finally, a shout out to Sudbury native and current member of the Canadian dressage equestrian team, Jill (Gougeon) Irving, who combined with Lindsay Kellock, Tina Irwin and Naima Laliberté to capture gold at the Pan American Games in Lima (Peru).
The Canadian quartet came from behind to overtake the United States on Day Two of the competition, which wrapped up at the very end of July in South America.