But, given the fact that the team's Central Regional Midget "AAA" Championship kicked off with an 8-1 loss to the Mississauga Rebels, perhaps an eternal optimist could spin Monday's defeat as a good omen.
All kidding aside, the Great North Midget League crew never gave themselves a chance, trailing 4-0 after just 7:20 of play. Frédérik Gauthier broke the ice for the Quebec side just 54 seconds in, with David Storto scoring his first of three first period goals just 39 seconds later.
Storto, with his second, and Laurent Dauphin increased the Phénix lead to 4-0, prompting Sudbury coach Peter Michelutti Jr to yank starting netminder Andrew Lefebvre in favour of Max Vaillant.
That seemed to stem the tide only temporarily as Storto rounded out his hat-trick late in the frame, giving Esther-Blondin a rather comfortable lead. The Nickel Capital Wolves began to chip away in period two, with Ryan Erickson converting on the power-play and defenseman Kyle Fransen narrowing the gap to three goals at 9:26 of the second.
But that would be the end of the comeback bid, with Dauphin netting his second of the game midway through the final stanza.
The Phénix outshot the Nickel Capital Wolves 32-24, with Sudbury forward Josh Moore recognized as the player of the game for the local squad.
The northern Ontario lads, who have faced adversity countless times this year, will look to rebound today, battling the host Leduc Oil Kings in the final game of the day.
In other action from Monday, the Saskatoon Contacts and Red Deer Rebels kicked off the week-long tournament, playing to a 2-2 draw, while the Moncton Flyers moved into a first place tie, edging the Oil Kings 3-2.
Posted by Mark Gentili