The Sudbury OPP Strike Force peewee houseleague team gifted themselves an early Christmas present a few weeks back, claiming gold at the 15th Annual Holiday Houseleague Tournament, hosted by the West End Hockey League and Sensplex Tournaments in Ottawa.
Part of the 16-team field that were grouped in the Peewee "B" classification, the Sudbury reps were slotted into the Nilsson Division, along with the Camillus Cougars, Gladiateurs d'Aylmer and the Stittsville B5.
After posting a 2-1 record in pool play, the Strike Force advanced through the quarter-finals, keeping their momentum going with a 2-1 shootout victory in the semis, before capping off the memorable run with a 1-0 overtime win over the Coyotes des Collines from Gatineau.
Recording no less than three shutouts and surrendering just three goals against over the course of five games, Sudbury goaltender Carter Hamilton was rated as the # 1 netminder in the tournament, as the locals found themselves in a highly competitive division (14 GF - 3 GA).
Offensively, the team was led by the likes of Zachary Pelletier (3G-2A), Cohen Manitowabi (3G-1A), Taylor Demontigny (2G-2A), Lamar Bailey (1G-1A) and Tristen Jacobson (2A), though it was clear from the scores that a complete team buy-in to solid defensive hockey likely played an even bigger role in their success.
"I am so proud of the way they played," noted coach Shane Pelletier. "They never gave up and supported each other, right to the end. They really came together as a team with a common goal and exceeded all expectations."
"Our focus is to build a team based on cooperation and respect, where every member has value," added coach Tim Lee. "Based on these ideals, our team came together and took gold."
Rounding out the gold medal winning Sudbury OPP Strike Force roster are Kyler Haight-Scott, Landon Manitowabi, Shaidon Mutswairo, Blake Beaudoin, Mikkel Pharand, Joshua Lee, Liam Costigan, Alessandro Moretta and Paung Trudeau.