Congratulations to the Manitoulin Panther novice squad who competed in the NOHA Novice B Tournament of Champions up in Iroquois Falls over the weekend. The youngest of the Panther organization has been improving all season long but were still looking for that elusive “W” as they entered the venerable Jus Jordan Arena. On Friday night the team didn’t seem to have any car lag after a seven hour car ride as they fought to a 2 -1 final with Hearst. The Panthers’ Ava Assinewai was the game MVP and lit the lamp and her team outworked their northern opponents. However, Hearst had one stand-out speedster who controlled their offense. The Panthers were able to figure out how to play him but just ran out of time.
On Saturday morning they drew the team from Cochrane. The team whole team played very strong, defensively, shutting them out 2 – 0 and earn their first win! Congratulations to netminder Kallan Jones on her shutout and game MVP and to goal-scorers who were Jaron Panamick and Cole Hughson.
Still riding the excitement of their victory the Panthers were flying in their third game against Kirkland Lake later that afternoon. Although they played a more wide open style they won again, 7 – 4! Goals were drained by Kordell Elijah scoring four, the game MVP, and Brodie Pennie with a hat-trick!
After the round robin, the Panthers were in third place overall and played the second place, Porcupine squad in the semi-finals Sunday morning. The local team played very well staying close but couldn’t erase the two-goal first period deficit. They were down 2-0 after the first, 3 – 1 after the second and a final of 5 – 3! Kordell found his scoring touch once again, potting two and Keannu Bisschops with a single. Zaagaasge “Zee” Toulouse, a stalwart on defense, took the MVP for the game. The kids came together well and were playing their positions and passing well. Aiden Case, Kohyn Eshkawkogan and Charlie Halverson stood firm on D all weekend! Charlie, a usual forward, stepped up in absence of their regular D-man and offered his assistance back there where he looked extremely comfortable and did a stand up job. Finally, goaltender Saraya Eshkawkogan, Charlie Halverson, Kohyn Eshkawkogan and Aiden Case. Their proud bench staff include coaches Kevin Eshkawkogan, Brent Assinewai, Bart Case, Josh Eshkawkogan, Trainer, Raechelle Cranston-Case and for hard work behind-the-scenes, manager Tamey McAllister!
The Peewee squad also put their skills to the test of the NOHA in their Peewee C T.O.C. in Powassan this past weekend. The team played some of their best hockey of the season over their weekend at the T.O.C., coming in as the defending champions from last year. In the round-robin the Panthers finished second in their pool with a solid 2 and 1 record. Their only loss was to the Temiskaming Shores Puckhounds 6-3.
Going into the semi-finals, Sunday morning against the hometown Powassan Hawks the match was turned into a real nail-biter, going into double-overtime! After five periods of hockey the Panthers won the game 4-3. Goals by scored by Jonas Mejaki, Nyron Panamick, Carter Abotossaway and Ben Marshall. The team pulled the goalie with 37 seconds left on the clock and Carter scored with a wrist shot from the point, to force overtime play. After two periods of overtime play, Ben Marshall, put away the game winner, with a pass from the corner from Boston Thibault.
The championship game that followed three hours later was another overtime hockey game, but ended up losing a hard fought game to their earlier nemesis the Temiskaming Shores Puckhounds 4-3. Two goals were scored by Samuel Assinewai and then a short-handed goal by Ben Marshall. The team missed many opportunities to seize the game win but all players played some hard and gritty, displaying some great Panther hockey, and with some great fan support. Kudos to the team staff of Coaches: Craig Abbotossaway, Rob Marshall, Tim Renwick, Gregg Langlois and Sundance Hare and Manager, Natasha Abbotossaway.
Congratulations to both Panther squads. Good luck to the atoms who host their T.O.C. this weekend at home at the NEMI Recreation Centre. Check out www.manitoulinpanthers.ca for their schedule!
Island player into NCAA finals
Congratulations to Manitowaning Wolves and Sudbury Lady Wolves player, Victoria Pitawanakwat whose U.S. College women’s team, R.I.T. (Rochester Institute of Technology) just won C.H.A. (College Hockey America) Cup and will now advance to national NCAA’s! Keep up the hard work, Victoria!
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