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Thursday, May. 24, 2018
Nothing comes easy at NAHA
by Randy Pascal

The 2017 NAHA (North American Hockey Academy) Labour Day Tournament served its purpose.

Competing in the U19 division, the Sudbury Midget "AA" Lady Wolves struggled to hit the win column, returning home with an understanding that there is still plenty of room for improvement as the young team looks to challenge the top squads in the province.

The level of competition was evident, right out of the gates, as the locals dropped a 3-1 decision Friday afternoon to the Islanders Hockey Club (North Andover, Massachusetts). Joelle Dubois scored the only Sudbury goals, with assists dispensed to Madison Laberge and Jenna Miller.

The Lady Wolves fell to 0-2 later that evening, doubled 4-2 by the U19 Little Caesars of Detroit, as Crystale Trottier and Taylor Scott hit the scoresheet, with Lauren Hancock and Jaiden Duncan picking up the helpers.

The best showing of round robin play for the northern crew came opposite the Burlington Barracudas PWHL (Provincial Women's Hockey League) team, with Sudbury beaten 3-2 in overtime. Madison Laberge and Myah Fillion handled the offense, while Madisyn Papineau, Katie Chomiak and Deseray Zazulak also picked up one point apiece.

A second PWHL opponent did not provide any better results for coach Jay Duncan and company, as the Nepean Wildcats stopped the Lady Wolves 4-1. Laberge picked up her third point of the weekend, finishing off a play from Hancock, while Sudbury native Mylène Lefebvre accounted for one of the Wildcat goals.

Thankfully, the Midget "AA" Lady Wolves would board the bus on a happier note, edging New England Hockey Club 2-1 as Hancock and Kiana Verbiwski found the back of the net, with Duncan, Trottier and Scott recording one assist each.

The challenge facing the locals was not made any easier last week, when goaltender Mireille Kingsley sustained a broken toe while working out at the gym, forcing Natania King to make every single start for Sudbury in Vermont.

"The girls had a great weekend, very similar to the year we ended up going to the Esso Cup," noted assistant coach Mike McGaughey. "They competed in every game, and two of the game were decided on empty-net goals."

"As a coaching staff, we are very pleased with the outcomes this weekend," he added. "The year we went, we never won a game all weekend and lost in very similar fashion."

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