Energy leads to dominance for novice ‘B’ Braves
The NGS novice ‘B’ Braves saved their best for last at the annual South Grenville hockey tournament held last weekend in Prescott and Spencerville.
Playing their sixth game of the event, and third match in a span of four- and- a- half hours on playoff Sunday, the Braves’ energized fore-check, unselfish passing, and dedication to protecting the defensive zone led to a 7-1 victory over a talented Carleton Place Kings team for the ‘A’ championship.
The Kings actually led the contest early, scoring just 1:49 into the first period.
However, the Braves didn’t let the early setback ruin their day, drawing even midway through the frame, when Hayden Darling found the back of the net.
In the second period Caleb Grady and Darling scored to triple the NGS lead.
As the game wore on, the Braves’ advantage became more evident. The energy level was outstanding.
NGS scored four more, as Grady capped off his hat trick with a pair, and Noah Mainville and Josh MacMillan each added singles. Grady, Darling, and Carter Rolland counted two assists each, with Vincent Anderson and Blake Nuttall collecting one each.
Saving his best game for the final, Grady was the choice for Hustler of the Game for NGS.
“It was essential to come out and play hard against a good Carleton Place team,” said assistant coach Joey Sullivan. “The reason we were so good in the game is an indication of how bad the boys wanted it.”
In their six tournament matches, the Braves outscored the opposition 36-5.
To reach the final, the Braves escaped the semifinal round with an exciting 2-1 victory over Lower St. Lawrence Division rival Cornwall 2 Colts.
Again, NGS found themselves behind the eight ball early, when Matteo Dixon gave the Colts a 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second period the Braves head- ed into the third period down but not out. It took less than a minute to make something happen, as Nuttall scored from linemates Anderson and Kyan Helmer. The Braves capped off the rally when Nuttall capitalized off a scramble in front of the net to give his team the lead, which eventually stood up as the winner, with three minutes remaining. Rolland’s resiliency after an injury early in the game, and his willingness to switch from forward to defence when called upon, were the main reasons he was chosen as NGS’ Hustler of the Game.
NGS started the day with a 5-0 win over the Kemptville B1 Panthers. Darling and Anderson each had a goal and an assist. Rolland, Nuttall, and Helmer also scored, with Grady and Aiden Casselman recording assists. Continuing his emergence with stellar play between the pipes, Dryden Coleman was masterful in recording the shutout. Coleman backstopped all six victories in the tourney. Defenceman Lukas Sullivan was poised and focused in the quarter-final and was named NGS Hustler of the Game.
The event opened on Feb. 12 when the Braves scored a 6-2 victory over a tough Kemptville B2 Panthers squad. Nuttall led the charge with two goals and an assist, while Darling and Rolland each had one and one. Helmer and Grady rounded out the NGS scoring. Anderson had two assists. Casselman was a safety net on the Braves’ blueline, always in excellent position in the defensive zone, earning NGS Hustler of the Game.
The Braves won game two 11-0 against the North Dundas B1 Demons. Anderson and Nuttall each had two goals and two helpers; Darling was two and one; Casselman scored twice; Grady had a goal and two assists; Rolland had a goal and an assist; and Helmer capped the scoring for NGS. MacMillan, Mainville, and Sullivan each picked up one helper, ensuring all team members had at least one point in the win. Darling was recognized for his dogged pursuit of the puck and net presence as the NGS Hustler of the Game.
Next, the Braves went headto-head with the Pointe-Claire Remparts, rolling to a 5-1 win. Grady was in a giving mood as he chalked up four assists. Nuttall scored twice, with single markers from Rolland, Darling, and Mainville. MacMillan, Darling and Anderson each had an assist in the win. Helmer used his blazing speed to draw several scoring chances for NGS and was a deserving winner of the Hustler of the Game award.
TROPHY TIME: NGS’ novice ‘B’ Braves celebrate their South Grenville tournament win. In back are, from left, assistant coach Joey Sullivan, head coach Todd Anderson, and assistant coach John Grady. Players standing are Hayden Darling, Josh MacMillan,...