Undefeated in 23 Nickel District Minor Hockey League (NDMHL) regular season encounters this year, the Nickel City Midget AA Rebels struggled to find the back of the net last week, settling for a 2-0 win over an undermanned Nickel City Minor Midget A Flyers crew in their last home game.
Back at home on Jan. 22, they weren't about to make that mistake again.
Facing the third-place West Nipissing Sting, the Rebels kept their foot on the gas from start to finish, posting an 8-0 whitewash over the visitors from Sturgeon Falls as netminder Justin Hébert turned aside 20 shots in recording the shutout.
A nicely balanced attack was led by two-goal efforts from both Dylan Lloyd and captain Aidan Byrne, with Alain Sicard, Luc Séguin, Jérémi Polsky and Jesse Henry all chipping in with one goal apiece.
Preparing for a tournament in Chicago next month, the Rebels opened up an eight-point lead over the second-place Copper Cliff Redmen with their win, though the latter do hold two games in hand.
The Rebels and Redmen will go head to head on Feb. 12, hooking up for a 9 p.m. puck drop at the Ray Plourde Arena in Val Caron.
In other NDMHL action, a quick start and flurry at the end provided very little drama in what was billed as a first place Novice AA showdown.
The Nickel City Rebels (16-1-1) disposed of the second-place Sudbury Bulldogs (14-2-1) with relative ease, blanking the visitors 5-0 in a contest that was waged in Capreol.
Kianna Trottier made 10 saves in posting the shutout between the pipes, with Wilson Farrow showing the way offensively with a hat trick.
A pair of goals from Riley Lavallee rounded out the scoring for the winners, who netted two first-period goals 1:44 apart before pulling away in the third period, adding three more tallies in the final six-and-a-half minutes.
The Bulldogs handed the Rebels their one and only loss in the season opener, a 4-3 victory back on Oct. 17, with the teams playing to a 3-3 tie in late November.
The tandem will go head to head in a week's time, facing each other on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Carmichael Arena.