Flammes rise up, burn Blues
Shorthanded TH&VS proves to be no match for rivals in NEOAA Boys Hockey action
The École secondaire catholique Thériault Flammes may hold down last place in the NEOAA Boys Hockey standings, but that didn’t stop them from torching a shorthanded Timmins High & Vocational School Blues squad Tuesday morning.
By the time the final ice chips had settled, the Flammes had earned an 8-1 victory.
“We were trying to employ a system today that allows us to break out of our end, get into their zone and control the puck,” said Flammes coach Jean St. Jean.
“Our strength today was really our speed. We were coming up the middle and up the sides, which gave us a big boost of self-confidence.
“We were just able to outplay TH&VS today.”
The Blues had just four spares on their bench and at one point that number was reduced to two when a pair of TH&VS players were banished to the penalty box at the same time.
“They still had some good players out there, but I think in the third period they started to get a little tired,” St. Jean said.
“We started to shorten our shifts and that made a big difference on our stamina.”
First-period goals by Bailey Simard and Brandon Dubosq staked the Flammes to a 2-0 lead and they never looked back.
The Blues were able to cut the Thériault advantage to 2-1 early in the second period on a goal by Joey Floreani, but the Flammes roared back with four more goals before the end of the frame to take a 6-1 lead into the final frame.
Brennan Martel scored two of those Thériault goals, while Brent Gauthier and Joel Martel also found the back of the net for the winners.
Goals by Chandler Grydsuk and Max Caron during the third period made the final score 8-1 in favour of the Flammes.
St. Jean was impressed by the play of a number of his Flammes.
“Maxime Caron is a small guy out there on the ice, but he has a big heart,” he said.
“Hisline,with(ashton)sullivanand Dubosq,weretick-tack-toeingthepuck nicely and controlling it well.
“Overall, all three of our lines were firing on all cylinders today. When we have all of our players at games, we play really well. This is the first time this year that we were able to have all three of our lines out at the same time.”
Given the historic rivalry between the two schools, a one-sided victory over the Blues is a little extra sweet for the Flammes — regardless of the circumstances.
“The guys play together out in the community and they like to talk in the dressing room,” St. Jean said.
“The last time we played them, they beat us and our guys remembered that loss, not that the score made a difference.”
Despite sitting in last place, the Flammes have not given up hopes of climbing their way up the standings this season.
“We have got to start winning some games because only the top four teams are going to continue in the playoffs,” St. Jean said.
“If we can continue to play like we did today, it will make a big difference in the standings.”
Despite the one-sided loss, the Blues sit in second place in the NEOAA Boys Hockey standings.
Given his team’s short bench, Blues coach James Aston knew his team was going to be in tough Tuesday morning.
“Some of our kids weren’t available because they had school commitments,” he said.
“We went with who we had available today and the kids who were here played as hard as they could and I commend them for their efforts.”
The Blues had a simple game plan heading into the contest.
“We wanted the boys to play positional hockey, but they were trying to do too much and it resulted in a lot of breakaways, odd-man rushes and high-quality scoring chances,” Aston said.
“And Thériault capitalized on those chances.”
Aston opted not to single out any of his 10 players for any extra praise.
“Everybody gave a good effort and nobody really stood out,” he said.
Noah Jordan went the distance in goal for the Flammes to earn the win, while Garin Janiuk, of the Blues, was tagged with the loss.
NEOAA Boys Hockey action will resume on Thursday, with the Flammes travelling to Kirkland Lake for a pair of games against the Kirkland Lake District Composite School Devils.
Brennan Martel, of the École secondaire catholique Thériault Flammes, lifts a backhand shot just past the outstretched glove of Timmins High & Vocational School Blues goalie Garin Janiuk during the third period of a NEOAA Boys Hockey contest at the Archie Dillon Sportsplex Tuesday morning. Martel’s shot sailed just wide of the post, but he did beat Janiuk twice earlier in the contest as the Flammes defeated the Blues 8-1.