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Big Nickel Tournament provides welcoming hosts

The Ottawa Jr.
The Ottawa Jr. 67's (peewees), South Central Coyotes (bantams) and Toronto Titans (midgets) emerged as the big winners as the 33rd edition of the Big Nickel Hockey Tournament wrapped up Sunday afternoon at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.

All three teams looked impressive in garnering the hardware, with Ottawa kicking things off with a 4-1 win over the Quinte Red Devils. Divisional MVP Samuel Bitten paced the 67's attack with a two-goal effort, with singles coming from Jackson Alexeev and William Ennis.

Nathan Duckley, who propelled the Devils to the final, scoring with just 56 seconds to play in a 1-0 semifinal win over the Timmins North Stars, replied in a losing cause for Quinte.

Ottawa advanced to the finals, eliminating the Nickel City Sons 3-1 in a Sunday morning encounter. The Peewee Sons survived longest of any of the local entries, chalking up a record of 3-1 before being sent to the sidelines.

In the bantam gold-medal encounter, the Coyotes rode three second-period goals to victory, clipping the Ottawa Valley Titans 3-1 as Greg Smith, Darius Dimitriadis and Kyle Thomas all found the mark in the middle stanza.

Tye Felhaber answered for Ottawa Valley, which eliminated the Toronto Nationals with a 5-3 win in semifinal play, while South Central blanked the Thunder Bay Kings 2-0 in the remaining "do or die" game.

A 23-save performance by goaltender Mark Manolescu backstopped the Titans to the midget crown, as goals from Matthew Marchese (2), Noah Gurr and Mathew Digirolamo provided plenty of offensive support in a 4-0 win over the London Jr. Knights.

The Knights held on for a 1-0 win over the Toronto Nationals earlier in the day, while the Titans moved along thanks to a 3-1 triumph over the North York Rangers.

Sudbury teams' post mixed results

Results for the local crew were somewhat mixed, though the vast majority of games proved both entertaining and competitive. With one tournament final appearance already under their belt, the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves were looking for more of the same at home, but simply could not get the offence untracked.

The Midget AAA Wolves dropped a 2-1 decision to the Ottawa Jr. 67's (Dylan Callaghan), were shutout by both the Toronto Nationals (3-0) and Toronto Titans (1-0 in a shootout), before picking up their one and only win over London (3-1: Brenden Pheasant, Michael Laidley, Charlie Venedam).

The Nickel City Midget AAA Sons matched that 1-3 mark with a 6-3 win over the Markham Waxers as Matthew Neault and Malcolm Bilton each netted a pair of goals.

Nathan Shane and Denver Ghent added singles for the squad that had previously lost to the CIH Academy (4-2: Neault, Alex St Marseille), the Ajax-Pickering Raiders (5-1: Shane) and the London Jr Knights (3-1: Michael Michel).

The Nickel City Minor Midget Sons gained more valuable tournament experience without leaving the north, recording a win in four tries while competing in the major midget AAA division.

After falling to the Mississauga Rebels (3-0), the South Central Coyotes (5-1: Alex Sokoloski) and the Toronto Nationals (5-2: Cameron Lizotte, Bradley Sutton), the locals finally hit the win column, edging the Ontario Hockey Academy 2-1 in a shootout.

Lizotte, who cracked the tournament all-star team on the blueline, scored the Nickel City goal in regulation time, with Sutton potting the winner in the penalty shot session.

The Nickel City Bantam AAA Sons hit the .500 mark over the weekend, but it was not enough to secure a playoff berth. The Sons upended the CIHA Voyageurs 5-2 on Thursday, as Joel Grandbois and André Frappier scored two goals apiece.

Alex Noel rounded out the attack for the Sons, who fell to 1-1 with a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Ottawa Valley Titans. Call-up defenceman Ryan O'Bonsawin managed to register the only Nickel City goal.

The Bantam Sons rebounded with a 3-0 win over the Markham Waxers as Kirk Trayner and Brendan Ranney joined Grandbois on the scoresheet, with the team closing out play with a 5-2 loss to the Upper Canada Cyclones (Jacob Stos, Connor Tessier).

The Sudbury Bantam Wolves posted a record of 1-3 in their 2012 Big Nickel audition, losing to the Ottawa Jr. 67's (4-0), the Central Ontario Wolves (2-0) and Thunder Bay Kings (7-1: Tyler Smith), while trimming the Toronto Nationals 3-2 (Ryan Mooney, Stephen Berardi, Ward Kyle) in their second game of the tournament.

The Nickel City Peewees qualified for the playoff round after knocking off the South Central Coyotes (3-0: Jaymes Green, Landon Thomson, Damien Giroux), the Central Ontario Wolves (6-4: Giroux-4, Bailey Therrien-2) and the Oshawa Minor Generals (5-2: Giroux-2, Thomas Vlahos, Parker Savard, Ethan Lavallee), offsetting a 3-1 loss to the Kitchener Jr. Rangers (Shane Poitras with the goal).

The Sudbury Peewee Wolves fell just short of equaling that preliminary round record, losing in a shootout in their final game to finish at 2-2. Quinte stopped Sudbury 5-1 in the opener, with Brett Jacklin accounting for all of the Wolves scoring, with the team looking much more impressive over their last three encounters.

The Wolves downed the Central Ontario Wolves 4-2 (Mathieu Dokis-Dupuis, Patrick Musico, Billy Moskal, Julian Simeoni), the Oshawa Minor Generals 3-1 (Musico-2, Hunter Chiblow) in a battle of the McCrory brothers, but were finally eliminated after a 2-1 loss to the Kitchener Jr. Rangers (Joel Mongeon).