The Timmins Majors and New Liskeard Cubs paid the price for the pent-up frustration of the local Great North Midget League (GNML) crew. After struggling to find the back of the net at the Big Nickel Tournament, the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves and Nickel City Sons averaged almost seven goals a game, sweeping the weekend series from their northern counterparts.
Looking to solidify their placing in the top half of the league, the Sons scored four times Saturday in the third period, with three goals coming in the final 4:25 as Nickel City tripled New Liskeard 6-2.
Denver Ghent paced the attack with a pair of goals, with singles coming from Nevada Waindubence, Nathan Shane, Ryan Punkari and Sheldon Lalonde. Felix Lantaigne scored the only Cubs goal, midway through the first, temporarily pulling the visitors into a 1-1 tie.
There was even more offence for the Sons on Sunday, improving their season mark to 8-6 with an 8-5 win over Timmins. Ghent was once again the main man for Nickel City, registering a hat trick and leaving the newcomer with 16 goals on the year.
Punkari and Shane chipped in with one goal apiece, with Malcolm Bilton, Alex St. Marseille and Kurtis Clouthier also finding their way on to the scoresheet. Austin Boulard countered with a two-goal effort for the Majors, with Andrew Boucher, Colin Beach and Tyler Romain scoring once each.
After scoring 45 goals in their first 12 games (less than four goals/game), potting 13 in the two-game weekend set provided a welcome relief for Nickel City head coach Joel Whissell.
"The boys have really been working hard and it paid off," Whissell said. "A lot of the little things — getting pucks on net, going hard to the net — really came together."
A late cut from the Nickel Capital Wolves, Ghent currently leads the Sons in scoring, little surprise to the coach who was more than happy to welcome the additional scoring help.
"(Ghent) goes 100 per cent all the time," Whissell said. "I've kept him and Shane together most of the time. They work really well together."
Ironically, the tandem were partnered with center Michael Michel, giving the Sons a top trio on the weekend that all earned their minor hockey stripes primarily through the SMHA (Sudbury Minor Hockey Association) or Copper Cliff minor hockey.
A knee injury to Alex Forget forced Nickel City to shuffle the roster somewhat, providing bantam call-up Kirk Trayner with his first taste of GNML action.
Across town, the midget AAA Wolves leap-frogged Sault Ste. Marie atop league standings, though the North Stars have three games in hand while trailing Sudbury by just two points.
Seven different players found the mark for coach Peter Michelutti Jr. on Saturday, as the Nickel Capital Wolves doubled Timmins 8-4. Dylan Callaghan (2), Charlie Venedam, Michael Laidley, Brenden Pheasant, Jackson Gunner, Niibin Nashkawa and Daniel Eddy powered the Sudbury attack, with Nick Oreskovich, Brandon Major-Renaud, Romain and Boucher replying in a losing cause for the Majors.
The Wolves picked up their 14th win in 17 outings the next afternoon, overcoming a 2-1 deficit with a four-goal, third-period outburst and dusting off the Cubs 5-2.
Pheasant scored twice to lead the locals, with Owen Fransen, Eric Paquette and Callaghan joining in the fun, while Lantaigne and Kyle Patterson answered for New Liskeard.
The Sons travel to North Bay on Saturday, with the Wolves welcoming the Kapuskasing Flyers to town, before the local rivals go head to head Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.