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Sons and daughters in action over the holidays
2020-01-08

The period running from December 24th through to January 2nd represents, typically, the quietest week of the year, in terms of local sports coverage.

Which is not to suggest that absolutely nothing is stirring - not even a mouse - as folks in Sudbury unwind over the holidays.

Each and every year, there are a handful of local teams and individuals that will compete at events not named the World Juniors, and the tail end of 2019 was no different.

Don't look know, but the 2005 collection of "AAA" hockey talent locally are more than just holding their own, provincially speaking. Taking part in the annual Toronto Marlies Holiday Classic, the Nickel City Major Bantam "AAA" Sons not only advanced through to the playoff round of the prestigious playdowns, but also put quite a scare into one of the top teams in Ontario, before returning north.

The Sons looked more than a little impressive in reeling their straight victories, right out of the gate, while outscoring opponents 13-2, a sequence that was kicked off with a 6-0 whitewashing of the Hamilton Huskies. Kyle Perreault and Alex Pharand scored two goals each for the locals, with Easton Stanley and Miguel Renaud chipping in with one each.

Where the Sons grabbed control of game one from start to finish, it was a comeback that was required in game two as the Nickel City crew scored three unanswered third period goals, overcoming a 1-0 deficit to upend the Grey Bruce Highlanders 3-1. Kohen Crane scored twice for the winners, with Kyle Perreault squeezing one other tally between those two.

A balanced attack was key as coach Corey Crane and the lads improve to 3-0 with a 4-1 win over the Kitchener Jr Rangers, a contest that would see Kohen Crane, Miguel Renaud, Alex Pharand and Kyle Perreault all find the back of the net for the Sons.

With a quarter-final berth already assured, the team sputtered only slightly, handed a 3-1 loss by the Quinte Red Devils, with Miguel Renaud handling the offense for Nickel City. Matched-up opposite the team that holds down the #1 slot in My Hockey Rankings for this age group in Ontario, the Sons found themselves with a 2-1 lead over the Oakville Rangers, with less than five minutes to play.

Unfortunately, the provincial powerhouse struck quickly, scoring twice and escaping with a 3-2 win, but doing little to detract from what was an outstanding tournament for the Nickel City side, one which saw them beat a pair of teams that are currently ranked above them.

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Meanwhile, for the second straight year, Laurentian University was able to assemble a extramural ringette team to compete at the University Challenge Cup over the Christmas holidays.

And while the 2019 edition of the team went winless in three attempts, the new and improved 2020 version showed clear signs of progress, posting a 1-3 mark in their preliminary round games, but emerging from the Tier 2 playdowns as bronze medal winners.

The Voyageurs wasted little time building some early confidence, trimming the McMaster Marauders 4-3 in their opening encounter, but in a little tougher against the likes of the University of Western Mustangs (7-2 loss), the Lethbridge Pronghorns (7-1 loss) and the Laurier Hawks (9-3 loss).

Though coach Harry Hirsimaki and company also suffered a defeat to open their Tier 2 schedule (5-3 loss to the Alberta Golden Bears), the L.U. ladies righted the ship, knocking off both the Trent Excalibur (9-5) and Carleton Ravens (5-3) to advance to their divisional semi-finals.

A heart-breaking 6-5 loss to the Dalhousie Tigers prevented the locals from finding their way to the Tier 2 final, but was not enough to keep Laurentian from returning home as medal winners, downing Carleton for a second time, 7-5, in the battle for third place in Tier 2 play.

The 2020 Laurentian ringette team features Alexandra Bloomfield, Allison Gravelle, Dominique Baldasaro, Emily Mussio, Hailey Mackenzie, Hayley Chase, Jade Lockie (also team organizer), Janelle Robichaud, Jenna Gilchrist, Jenna Dubeau, Katie Vandeloo, Madison Laframboise, Marley Doney, Morgan Kirk, Natalie Reed, Olivia Milani, Taylor Gilchrist, Teagan Hirsimaki, Thea Meulensteen, coach Harry Hirsimaki, coach Margaret Gilchrist and trainer Teresa Doney.

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And finally, right on the heels of the NOCA U21 playdowns a little over a week ago comes the battle for a berth in the 2020 Ontario Winter Games, as six women’s teams and five crews of men met in Thessalon from January 3rd to the 5th.

Plenty of Sudbury content for the young women as an all-Sudbury final sees the Idylwylde Golf & Counry Club quartet of Bella Croisier, Lauren Rajala, Emilie Lovitt and Piper Croisier set the wheels in motion for a run at a second straight U18 national crown, winning three straight games comfortably, including their 6-1 triumph, in the gold medal affair, over the Curl Sudbury quartet of Mia Toner, Valérie Ouimet, Justine Toner and Emilie Glabb.

This made for quite the send-off for Lasalle Secondary senior Lauren Rajala, who not only departed this week for Switzerland, site of the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, but who also confirmed just days ago her selection as the Team Canada flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremonies to the event on Thursday.

Though there was a shot at a Sudbury sweep, it was simply not meant to be as the Samuel Branconnier Idylwylde Golf & Country Club rink of Patrik Labrosse, Tyler Smith, Alexandre Rheaume and Sebastien Whissell dropped an 8-1 decision to the Cataraqui Golf & Country Club (Kingston) squad of Jayden King, Jett Gazeley, Kaamraan Islam and Cole Lacroix-Lyon.

Orendorff & Associates