Minor hockey routine is returning - albeit somewhat delayed

Posted by Andre Leduc on Nov 01 2021 at 05:28AM PDT

Minor hockey routine is returning – albeit somewhat delayed
Randy Pascal

There wasn’t a whole lot more scoring than that in the U15 AAA boys’ matchups this past weekend featuring the Nickel City Sons and the visiting Soo Jr Greyhounds, with the latter racking up tightly contested victories of 2-1 and 2-0.

Carter Makasoff broke the ice Saturday for the Sons, tallying in the middle stanza only to see Rylie Carter reply with a pair of third period goals, lifting the Hounds past the locals in game one. Less than 24 hours later, Coulson Bell and Brendan Cooke sniped for the Sault just 25 seconds apart, their first period efforts standing tall thanks to a shutout performance from netminder Nick Marson.

Given that this age group basically missed the entire first year of when body checking is allowed, it’s no surprise that several coaches are feeling like they are playing a little bit of catch-up, with so much to cover in practice.

“I think we are still a ways away with my group – other teams are a little further ahead,” noted Cory Schiewek, picking up the reins behind the bench with this group of Sons for the first time in about five years or so. “I’ve got a lot of new players with my group and I feel that we’ve been a little slower adapting to the contact.”

“We’re turning the puck over way too much when we feel the pressure. We’re not taking that half second and getting the puck tape to tape. When we learn that we can get hit and still make a play and it doesn’t hurt us, we’re going to be a lot further along.”

Still, there are signs that this too shall come, given that there was no denying that there were a great number of positives coming out of their battles with the league leaders on the weekend.

“The group itself has gelled better than I have seen with this team,” said Schiewek. “They are trusting each other, they care for each other, the camaraderie, the unity is really good in the room. And the work ethic, overall, is there.”

Game play is helping to identify the deficiencies, with the Sons recently returned from their first tournament of the season. “We realized, when we got back from Peterborough, that we are not bending our knees to give or take a hit,” said Schiewek. “We’re standing straight up and lifting our bodies before we deliver a hit.”

The U15 AAA Sons, along with most of the local AAA contingent, will be back in action locally on the weekend of November 4th to the 7th, as the Big Nickel Hockey Tournament returns with a field that has more than doubled in size since the event was last hosted locally in 2019.

Among the participants, the Sudbury U18 Nickel Capitals and smooth-skating defenceman Carson Crane, who is sure to be a popular young man come time for the post-season three on three tournaments next spring.

Coach Brian Dickinson and his team are undefeated through three games, thanks in large part to Crane who has potted a pair of overtime game-winning goals already in the young season. The elder Caps spotted their U16 AAA counterparts a 4-1 lead after two periods of play last Wednesday, rallying to edge coach Jordan Cheechoo’s crew 5-4.

Bryson Smith, Cameron Allen, Ethan Morris and Noah Kohan joined Crane on the scoresheet for the winners, with Nolan Newton (2), Caden Dubreuil and Atom Thususka replying in a losing cause.

On Saturday, Logan Carr held the fort facing a Timmins Majors group that was badly outshooting the Caps early on as Sudbury knocked off the visitors 6-3. Call-up Tyler Cloutier scored twice to show the way, with Reid Lafrance, Dominic Morris, Thomas Rinaldi and Carson Crane also finding the back of the net.

It was back to one goal affairs on Sunday as Timmins battled from behind to force overtime, only to see the locals enjoy the last laugh as Crane pushed Sudbury to another 5-4 win, giving the victory between the pipes to goaltender Noah Beaulne, just back from his first OHL camp in Kingston.

“I try and keep my mind on the end goal and that’s winning the game,” said the 17 year old puck-stopper, who fell victim to a few strange bounces in posting a 2-0-0 record. “I need to keep focusing, keep my eyes on the puck, tracking it well and communicating with my team.”


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