Peewee Rockhounds surprise with silver medal performance
by Randy Pascal
The Sudbury Peewee Rockhounds entered the OLA (Ontario Lacrosse Association) Division “C” Provincials ranked somewhere in the middle of
They emerged from the weekend much better than that.
Coach Dave Lachance and company strung together five straight wins at the ideal time, weaving their way through to the championship final before
being edged 5-4 by the Cornwall Celtics and settling for second place.
Fine-tuning their game at practice last week, the squad was busy working both ends of the floor. Offensively, plays needed to be crisp.
“There’s always picks, at least one or two picks,” noted 11 year Oliver Côté. “I want to see the pick in the right place. If they set the pick in
the wrong place, then there’s no use because their guy still has me. I need a full lane to come around,” he added. “Usually, you have the ball on the
outside, so the pick is on the outside.”
To a man/boy, the Rockhounds were fixated on improvement. “I think we’ve learned to move around in the house, not stand still and wait for a pass,” said
Mason Lachance, who was making his fifth or sixth trip to the OLA Festival.
“We’re trying to play our positions as best as we can,” Lachance continued. “Defensively, whenever we cheated, it always came back to bite us.” In spite
of a lineup that ranks below the average in size, the Peewee Rockhounds found a way to overcome.
“I find that I’m more used to getting hit now,” said Lachance. “I used to be scared of getting hit, but now I seem to be able to take hits more easily.
If you’re going to go close to the boards, go tight to the boards.”
“We need to pass, and we need to catch our passes,” explained Côté. “And play good defense. We can’t be scattering, we need to play the box. We have to
be sure to slide to keep the box.” In the end, the locals would dodge a few bullets en route to their silver medals.
The Rockhounds opened round robin play with a 7-6 win over the Burlington Chiefs, and made it back to back victories on Friday with a 7-4 triumph
over the Nepean Knights. First place in Group 2 would come courtesy of an 8-6 win over the Huntsville Hawks, with the Sudbury lads advancing
to the final four after bouncing the Milton Mavericks 9-2.
Still no slowing down on Sunday morning, as the northern squad slipped past the Centre Wellington Mohawks, before finally falling just one goal
short in the final.
The 2016 Peewee Rockhounds team included Kiaus Lalonde, Oliver Côté, Stephen Rathwell, Jack Gouchie, Easton Hinschberger, Alex Hachez, Brandon
Salem, Ashton Eadie, Alexie Dokis-Dupuis, Mason Lachance, Bradford Scarpellini, Brek Morrow, Brandon Roney, Andrew Whitehouse, Cameron Shanks and
The Rockhound Bantams were also in action this past weekend, eliminated after pool play with a record of 1-2. A slow start did not help, as the Oshawa
Blue Knights quadrupled the Rockhounds 8-2, with coach Benoit Douillette and company staying alive with a 5-3 win over the Six Nations
But the end of the line came early on Saturday, as the Northumberland Nemesis lived up to their name, squeezing past the Sudbury Bantams 5-4 and
sending a disappointed crew home for the long weekend.
Provincial action continues this week, as the Sudbury Intermediate Rockhounds begin their quest for a medal on Tuesday. The elder statesmen of the
local competitive lacrosse ranks kick things off versus the Wallaceburg Griffins, battling the Arthur Aces later this evening.
The Rockhounds will attempt to secure a berth in the playoff round when they close out round robin play Wednesday morning opposite the Milton
Mavericks. The Sudbury Novice Rockhounds will be the last of the local crew to contest their provincial championships, heading to Whitby this coming
weekend for games on Friday and Saturday, and hopefully Sunday.