Of the four divisions that were contested, Rockhound representatives captured a pair of banners, rolling over the competition in both the Novice and Intermediate groupings.
The Sudbury Novices were never really tested, posting an undefeated record on the weekend and besting the Gloucester Griffins 7-1 in the final. Sam McCue paced the Rockhounds' attack with a hat trick, with Felix Lalonde, Ben Harris, Easton Hinschberger andBrandon Roney adding one goal apiece.
Eber Doyle replied in a losing cause for Gloucester, who advanced to the gold-medal game thanks to a 4-3 shootout win over the Orillia Kings in the morning semifinal, a dramatic finish that required no less than a total of 16 shooters between the two squads.
Similar to the Novices, the Intermediate Rockhounds literally ran away from the competition, thumping the Soo Spartans 12-1 in the championship affair, with Bo Peltier and Nick Marion both finding the back of the net three times each.
Austin Bouchard and Jacob Leore added a pair of goals apiece, while Kieran Peltier and Lucas Ricci rounded out the offensive parade for the winners. Peter Hryniuk managed to break the Sudbury shutout bid with only a couple of minutes to play.
"Since we are not a really big team, our big factor is speed," said Marion, one of a solid core of first-year intermediate players that have progressed, in tandem, through the ranks of the GSLA.
"Speed, and working the ball on offence, being able to penetrate and score goals."
While neither Midland nor Sault Ste. Marie constitute a stiff challenge for the Intermediate Rockhounds, the locals still took advantage to focus on certain particular elements of their game.
"We were working a lot on defence," said Marion. "Picking out your man, working as a team, knowing who you're going to take — so that when we play more competitive teams, it's easier to put that into those games."
Despite being overwhelmed in the final, the Spartans did manage to surprise the Rockhounds Friday night, racking up a 7-6 shootout win after losing 10-1 in the opening match the same afternoon.
"Knowing that we did drop the one game made it a lot easier to get motivated to play in the final," saidMarion. A former AAA hockey player, Marion notes a definite preference for lacrosse, a sport that tends to lend itself better to his particular skill set.
"It's more physical for me," Marion explained. "In hockey, you can glide. This is more of an endurance kind of sport. I prefer it a lot."
While their weekend opponents may not have provided much of a push, that is unlikely to be the case when the Intermediates head to Ontario Lacrosse Association Provincials in early August.
Still, this confident group is undeterred.
"Even though we are a young team, we believe we can accomplish well at provincials, playing B," said Marion. "Picks and rolls will let you penetrate against good defensive teams. And against good goalies, you have to make them move.
"A lot of fakes should open up a spot to shoot on net.”
If the two Sudbury victories were fairly one-sided, the same could not be said for the remaining two finals. In a rematch of a battle that went to a shootout the previous evening, the Barrie Bombers claimed the Bantam banner with a 3-2 overtime win over the St. Catharines Athletics.
Randy Ryan drilled home the winner just a few minutes into the first five-minute overtime session after Josh McMillan (St Catherines) and William Lowe (Barrie) traded goals in regulation time.
Overtime was also needed to settle things in the Peewee affair, where the Soo Spartans earned some payback for their Intermediate counterparts, trimming the Sudbury Rockhounds 3-2.
Mitchell Crosato ended the suspense for the Sooites, with Tyler Brechin and Sean Dodson also hitting the mark for the winners. Nolan Marion and Sebastien Chartrand replied in a losing cause for Sudbury.
Following is a cross-section of game scores and goal scorers from the weekend action at both Carmichael and Coniston Arenas:
Sudbury Rockhounds 16 (Ashton Eadie-Chartrand-3, Korbyn Payne-2, Ben Harris-2, Easton Hinschberger-2, Brandon Roney-2, Cameron Shanks, Mason Lachance, Stephen Rathwell, Felix Dennie, Sam McCue)
Orillia Kings 0
Sudbury Rockhounds 9 (Brek Morrow-3, Ben Harris, Brandon Roney, Atley Gringorten, Korbyn Payne, Cameron Shanks, Mason Lachance)
Gloucester Griffins 2 (Eber Doyle, Wyatt Kennedy)
Gloucester Griffins 4 (Eber Doyle, Corey Somers, Gavin Olivier, Brennan Smith)
Orillia Kings 3 (Jakson Gerrard-3)
Soo Spartans 12 (David Campbell-3, Mitchell Crosato-2, Steven Pszeinkeny-2, Noah Grasley, Sean Dodson, Ethan St John, Kristian Capiscotta, Thomas Irwin)
Brampton Excelsiors 1 (Jesse Gabany)
Sudbury Rockhounds 9 (Max McCue-3, Nolan Marion-2, Connor Coutu, Cameron Walker, Zak Thompson, Sebastien Chartrand)
Gloucester Griffins 3 (Caleb Rampley-Starr, Avery Penberthy, Yianni Monette)
Sudbury Rockhounds 4 (Ethan Marois, Connor Coutu, Max McCue, Max Dumais)
Soo Spartans 3 (Ethan St John-2, David Campbell)
Barrie Bombers 3 (Cole Harrison-2, Jacob Booth)
Sudbury Rockhounds 2 (Philippe Larochelle, Matti Allen)
Gloucester Griffins 3 (Cameron Charlton-2, Chad Boucher)
St. Catharines Athletics 2 (Nathan Neal-2)
Barrie Bombers 2 (Cole Harrison-2)
St Catherines Athletics 1 (Nathan Neal)
Barrie Bombers 8 (Cole Harrison-3, William Lowe, Randy Ryan, Zachary
Greening, Ryley Ruff, Luke Wynbergen)
Gloucester Griffins 1 (Chad Boucher)
St Catherines Athletics 4 (Nathan Neal-3, James Walsh)
Sudbury Rockhounds 1 (Mathieu Dokis-Dupuis)
Sudbury Rockhounds 10 (Jacob Leore-3, Mitchell Mousseau-2, Nick Marion-2, Bailey Emond, Nick Jeffery, Lucas Ricci)
Soo Spartans 1 (Nick Hryniuk)
Soo Spartans 7 (Nick Hryniuk-3, Emmitt McFarlane, Jeremiah Van Benhem-2, Peter Hryniuk)
Sudbury Rockhounds 6 (Austin Bouchard-2, Bo Peltier, Sebastien Desormeaux, Curtis Bennett, Nick Jeffery)
Soo Spartans 6 (Peter Hryniuk-3, Nick Hryniuk-2, Jeremiah Van Benhem)
Midland Braves 2 (Trent Micks, Max Burgin)
Sudbury Rockhounds 10 (Jacob Leore-4, Nick Jeffery-2, Nick Marion-2, Austin Bouchard, Sebastien Desormeaux)
Midland Braves 4 (Jordan Labatte-3, Trent Micks)