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Close affairs bring final AAA hockey championships to an end

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Apr 08, 2014 - 10:55 AM |
Several local AAA hockey players maxed out their hockey complement for the season recently, with three of the four championship finals in the Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League going the distance, needing a dramatic fifth game to decide matters.

Several local AAA hockey players maxed out their hockey complement for the season recently, with three of the four championship finals in the Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League going the distance, needing a dramatic fifth game to decide matters.

Several local AAA hockey players maxed out their hockey complement for the season recently, with three of the four championship finals in the Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League going the distance, needing a dramatic fifth game to decide matters.

Saturday in Chelmsford, the last of the matchups capped off, quite fittingly, an outstanding sequence of post-season play. The Sudbury Minor Peewee Sons Blue and North Bay Minor Peewee Trappers were locked in a scoreless draw after two periods of play.

The Sons caught a break early in the third when a pass to captain Justin Dauphinais bounced off a North Bay defender, directly on to the stick of the streaking forward who would make no mistake on the breakaway.

Nicholas Faught added an insurance marker on the power play with 3:31 to play, ringing a shot off the far post and in as the Sudbury Sons Blue claimed the NOHA banner with a 2-0 win over the Trappers.

As for the game-winning tally, Sudbury coach Rod Mackenzie could not have hoped for a better candidate on a clear-cut breakaway.

"I knew where I wanted to put it," said Dauphinais after the game.

"I was really confident about it — I usually don't miss on breakaways."

Still, there was the small matter of beating North Bay netminder Reese Proulx, who had enjoyed another strong outing between the pipes.

"(Proulx) is really good on his trapper, so I knew to put it on the blocker," said Dauphinais. That sentiment seemed contagious as Sudbury goalie Owen Kilganon was also forced to come up with a pair of big-time saves in the third, using his blocker to turn away blasts from both Eric Lafontaine and Nathaniel Lalonde of the Trappers.

The game remained in question through to the final few minutes before Faught took a pretty pass from callup Zacharie Giroux and snipped iron and in, giving the Sons their biggest victory of the year since capturing the Bell Capital Cup in Ottawa over the Christmas break.

"This one was better," said Dauphinais. "It's the league, so it's the whole year, instead of just one weekend like the Bell Capital Cup."

Last Saturday, the Sudbury Minor Bantam AAA Wolves and North Bay Minor Bantam AAA Trappers went to overtime for the second time in their series, with Sudbury emerging with a 3-2 win, taking the championship final by that very same margin.

Hunter Chiblow scored at 5:46 of overtime to lift the visitors to victory, after the teams had traded goals in both the first and second periods. Tyler Maki and Patrick Musico pulled the trigger for the Wolves, with David Dedo and Eric Lachance countering for North Bay in a matchup that could not have been much closer.

Game scores of 3-2, 2-1, 2-1, 3-1 and 3-2 attest to just how closely matched these two teams were. The NOHA championship represents the end of the line for both the Minor Peewee and Minor Bantam divisions, with provincial championships contested only within the major age groupings.

A few weeks back, the Soo Major Bantam Greyhounds doubled the Nickel City Major Bantam Sons 4-2 in Game 5 of their finals, with the Sooites earning the right to represent the north at the All-Ontario playdowns.

Unfortunately, the Hounds did not reach their goal of advancing to a semifinal game on Friday. The Sault opened with a 2-1 win over the host Huron-Perth Lakers, but could only manage a subsequent 3-3 tie with the Thunder Bay Kings around losses to the London Jr. Knights (4-3), Quinte Red Devils (7-0), Ottawa Jr 67's (6-3) and Toronto Young Nationals (6-3).

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