SUDBURY—The Manitoulin Panthers peewee hockey team are the 2019 Nickel District Minor Hockey League champions!
In the Jim Pappin Division gold medal championship game (held as part of the NDMHL play downs this weekend), the Panthers were down 3-2 to the Copper Cliff major peewee A Redmen in the final game of the Peewee B Division championship.
However, Liam Gray knotted the score for the Panthers at 3-3 with 2:13 to play in the final period, and exactly two minutes later, with 13 seconds to go, teammate Corbin Best allowed the Panthers to avoid overtime as Manitoulin claimed the championship with a 4-3 win.
Copper Cliff had defeated Manitoulin earlier in the round-robin, 3-2. Against Blind River the Panthers won 4-2, and then the locals defeated the Sudbury Lady Wolves 7-3 to put them in second place in the round-robin and qualified them for the finals.
The Panthers were up 1-0 after the first period and behind in the game, 3-2 after the second stanza.
The Panthers team roster included Gavin Bebamikawe, Cody Campbell, Annie Balfe, Keannu Bisschops, Aiden Case, Davin Deschenes, Liam Gray, Noah Gray, Cole Hughson, Gage Hughson, Elijah Lock, Jake Patreau, Brodie Pennie, Camryn Ramsay, Zacharie Seguin, coach Jamey Gray, assistant coaches Nelson Deschenes and Jason Hughson, trainers Jamie Ramsay and Jason Patreau, and co-managers Lisa Pennie and Tina Balfe.
The Manitoulin Panthers novice B league team reached the finals of the A division championship game, losing a very close 1-0 decision. The team includes Carter Morrell, Easton Assinewai, Anderson Bennett, Spencer Cortes, Trinity Cheechoo, Lincoln Rancourt, Cohen Rajotte, Max King, Ryan Carter, Koda Peltier, Roen Deschenes, Bryden Romaniuk, Liam Stephens and Brynn Best.
In the atom division, the Panthers also had a great showing but fell in the semi-finals against a team that went on to become the eventual league champions. The team includes coach Scot Hughson and players Izzy Hughson, Ethan Witty, Jack Carter, William Roszell, Rylan Pennie, Jackson Chevrette, Mya Balfe, Jonah Balfe, Grayson Orford, Jack Bridgeman, Chase Taylor, Alesha Beam, Jean-Claude Paquette, Jackson Noble, Kyle Nodecker and Kara Peltier.