Heading into the Northern Ontario Bantam AAA Hockey League (NOBHL) Showcase over the weekend in Sault Ste. Marie, both local entries were fully aware that the host Thunder had looked extremely impressive, advancing to the semifinals of the Toronto Red Wings Tournament earlier this month.
And while both clubs tasted defeat at the hands of the Thunder, the scores were close enough to provide a sense of optimism, allowing coaches Mike Mooney (Sudbury) and Trevor Blanchard (Nickel City) the opportunity to assess the work that remains to be done.
After struggling mightily as a Major Peewee AAA entry two years ago, the Wolves have a renewed sense of competitiveness this year, winning three of four games at the Showcase and improving to 5-1.
The Wolves doubled the North Bay Hilltop Variety Trappers 6-3 as the locals scored five times in the final period, picking up the win. Ryley Chum paced the attack with a hat trick, while Ryan Mooney, Nathan Scruton and Dakota Reuben chipped in with one goal apiece.
A slow start in game two gave way to a solid second and third period as the Wolves broke open a 1-1 tie, scoring eight unanswered goals in whipping the Timmins Eagles 9-1.
Owen Fransen led the way for Sudbury with a three-goal effort, while Reuben added a pair. Tylar Read, Brad Sutton, Alex Savard and Brody Surette rounded out the scoring for the winners.
In the all Nickel Basin matchup, the Wolves scored three times in the final six minutes, upsetting the Nickel City Sons 7-3. Fransen picked up his fourth and fifth goals of the weekend, with singles coming from Surette, Scruton, Chum, Read and Eric Paquette.
Brody Brunet, Ryan Theriault and Jason Bednarski answered for the Sons, who finished the weekend with a .500 mark, offsetting a pair of wins with a pair of losses.
Sudbury closed out round robin play Sunday afternoon, trailing the Soo Thunder 2-1 entering the third period before falling back, dropping a 5-1 decision.
Fransen netted the only goal for the Wolves, while Jason Uhl drilled the hat trick for the Thunder. Nickel City opened the Showcase on the wrong end of an 8-4 loss to the host Sooites, falling behind 4-0 in the first period and never fully recovering. Theriault, Bednarski, Anthony Pelletier and Brandan Dumouchel found the back of the net for the Sons.
In game two, Nickel City spotted Timmins a 1-0 lead, but roared back with eight consecutive goals en route to a 10-2 win.
Pelletier led the way with three goals, Bednarski and Dumouchel had two each, and Ashton Roy, Cole Braney and Austin Burke all broke through for their first goals of the year in the lopsided win.
Finally, Scott Villeneuve took the offensive reigns against North Bay, scoring three times in a 7-0 win. Bednarski, Brunet, Pelletier and Theriault rounded out the scoring, while Mackenzie Savard picked up the shutout.
NOBHL action continues this weekend as North Bay visits Sudbury for a three-game set.
- Posted by Laurel Myers