Off “the Rock” hockey
Little Current’s Nick Esposto continues to shine for the Laurentian University Voyageurs. After 27 games, Esposto has racked up 17 points on 11 goals and 6 assists. Nick is a well-rounded former OHL player (Oshawa Generals) and a key contingent of the OUAA squad.
Two of the Peltier brothers of the very athletic Wikwemikong (Gerard, Maxine) have made big hockey jumps lately. The older, Bo, has completed 3 games with the Ontario Hockey League’s North Bay Battalion while still playing a regular shift with the NOJHL’s Powassan Voodoos. His former Powassan teammate is now the second highest scorer for the Battalion.
Meanwhile, younger brother Evan, who recently was signed for the NDSSA (High School) Widdifield Wildcats by the NOJHL’s French River Rapids had a solid game against the Iroquois Falls Eskimos. Evan faced a barrage of shots in a close 8 to 6 loss but managed to make 41 saves in an admirable effort.
The Manitoulin Atom Panthers with the Nickel District League had a great performance in a tough division last weekend at the Soo Extravaganza Tournament. They opened with a fine 1 to 0 victory over Soo Prouse followed by a 2 to 2 tie with the Chapleau Huskies. On day-two the Atom Panthers rambled over the Soo Major Novice Select by an 8 to 1 count. They followed this with a 4 to 1 triumph over the tough minor atoms from Copper Cliff in the semifinal. The champion final was a major back and forth contest but our atoms came up on the wrong side of a 4 to 2 score. As a reward, the local rep team was awarded the silver medal. Congrats to the atoms, who so far had the opportunity of playing 50+ games. Experience is a great teacher!
Naakwam Shawanda (son of former Pontiac student, Moheengun Shawanda and Bernadette George) has won himself a spot in the all-Ontario high school wrestling championships. Last weekend in Sudbury, Naakwam collected the silver medal in the 61 kilo division which qualified him for OFFSA to be held in Brampton to held March 1-3.
By the way Team Ontario, NAIG is calling all wrestlers to an Ontario try-out this April 1. The selection camp will go from 1 to 3pm at the University of Guelph.
Last week we reported that M’Chigeeng’s Lakeview winning the Sagamok Beedabin Classic. We also wish to congratulate the Pontiac School’s runners-up, led by well-known coach Shelly Ann Trudeau. Pontiac opened with a 3 -3 tie with a strong A.B Ellis squad and then followed it with a 4-3 victory over the host, Sagamok. Team members included Jordan Cheechoo, Taryn Peltier, Kordell Elijah, Julian Wemigwans, Victoria Trudeau, C.J. Newberry, Ken Kagige, Lattrell Peltier, Raven Bolton, Alex Peltier and Cordell Fox. Further high fives to Latrell Peltier who was named to the all-star team for the tournament. Ruby Trudeau, very active in Wiky hockey, assisted Ms. Trudeau as coach.
Rookie Voyageur turns heads
Kennedy Lanktree and her Laurentian Vees played their last home game of the regular season against York last week. Needing a win to secure a spot in the playoffs they headed into the second period tied at zero. 56 seconds into the next stanza, Kennedy outraced a York defender and fired a backhand over the glove of the goaltender giving Laurentian a 1-0 lead and remained scoreless through the remainder of the period. With approximately 13 min left in the 3rd, Laurentian went on a power play, again beating a York player, Lanktree gained possession of the puck and dished the puck off to line-mates who buried the second goal of the game and giving Laurentian a 2-0 lead. The game would finish 3-0 and a berth in the playoffs where they will most likely face northern rival, Nipissing in the first round. Lanktree finishes the regular season with 5 goals and 6 assists in 20 games played.
Mend well, Earl
A big get-well wish to long time referee Earl Debassige of M’Chigeeng. Unfortunately big Earl caught an edge in a recent Manitoulin minor hockey league contest, badly wrecking his ankle. The injury was serious enough to require surgery and Earl came through that with flying colours. We hope to see you on the ice with the stripes next year Earl. Best wishes!
Manitoulin Minor spotlight
Hats off to the Wikwemikong Bantams of the MMHA for their recent semi-finals triumph over the Gore Bay Bruins. In the second game, Wiky downed Gore Bay 2 to nothing. Then in the final, the Hawks prevailed the Bruins by a 7 to 5 count. They are currently waiting to see who they will play in the Island Championships.
Top, former Island athlete gives back
Former local multi-athlete Evan Bayer (top goal-tender, cross country runner, track and field competitor), who is now living in Calgary, is into cycling, marathons, tri-athlons, etc. On March 6 he will be in a competition known as “Spin for Strong Kids”. It is a program to raise money for healthy children. He is looking for contributions to help the kids and Evan is a generous young man. If you wish to assist check out the website. https://www.crowdrise.com/the-lead-out-project-spin-for-strong-kids.
Island Wolf and her team reach finals of top-notch tourney
Hailey McGillis-Prior and her Sudbury Lady Wolves B team was at the Durham west tournament on the weekend and made it to the semi-finals! They played an Ottawa team Friday morning and tied them 1-1 with Hailey getting the goal to tie it up. They then played the number-one ranked team in the province the Cornwall Typhoons and tied them 1-1 as well. The third game was against Leaside and the S.L.W. won 2-0 which put them into the semis against the same Ottawa team they tied Friday. They played hard but came up short and lost 2-0. The Cornwall team went on to win the tournament, 1-0 over Ottawa.
Lakeview court, hosts intense floor hockey league
For the past few weeks Lakeview School students have been competing for the top spot in the L.V.S. 2017 Floor Hockey Intramurals. There are five teams with an even mix of grade 5-8 students and they battled it out through a very, close-matched regular season. Special mention to Ms. Mavec for the lowest goals against average, allowing only 10 goals for the season and to Mr. Roy for a close second for an average of 13 goals against. The team with the highest goals-for, on the season goes to principal, Neil Debassige’s team of Noah, Damion, Arnold, Preston, Wesley and Adrian with 25 goals. The playoffs have just begun and teams are now battling it out for the championships.
Dion Killens, son of former Manitoulin resident and long-time rep hockey player Mark Killens, continues to shine in basketball skills. Recently he won his second district free-throw championships for his school.