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Monday, May. 27, 2019
Rockhounds open play at Provincials Festival
by Randy Pascal

By the time holiday Monday rolls around, two of the three Sudbury Rockhound rep teams will have completed play at the Ontario Lacrosse Association Provincial Festival, with only the novice team still to head to Whitby next weekend.

The Peewee Rockhounds have but a pair of summer tournament appearances under their belt, forcing the youngsters to be a little more vigilant when they step out on the floor opposite the Cambridge Chiefs than might normally be the case in most years.

"We don't know what's going to come at us," noted Rockhound veteran Alek Duguay. "We have to expect stuff that might not happen normally." It's been a few weeks now since their last tournament action, allowing the local side to pinpoint specific areas of their game that needed to improve, including making sure their breakout was quick and efficient.

"You get a pass from your goalie and you cut to the side," began Duguay. "Then there's a player cutting around and you give the pass to him, he passes it up the floor, and then those two guys change. The three people on the other side change before those two."

It was a lesson learned the hard way, the result of slowly gaining access to the opponent's zone, and not allowing themselves enough time, with the shot clock in play, to run a proper offense.

"In our tournaments before, we didn't move the ball as well, a lot of people just tried to run it up the floor," said Duguay. "Now, we're moving it up the floor quite a bit, so we should have more offensive opportunities than before."

The Sudbury Peewee Rockhound roster includes Jacob Barney, Brady Boucher, Alek Duguay, Jack Gouchie, Joseph Gouchie, Alex Hachez, Kiaus Lalonde, Caden McDonald, Stephen Rathwell, Mason Robertson, Brandon Roney, Bradford Scarpellini, Owen Seguin and Tyler Thompson.

While the Sudbury Bantam Rockhounds have been down this road a few more times than their younger counterparts, the team has also seen more turnover than in recent years, with players new and old fully aware of the challenge that must be overcome in order to advance beyond pool play.

"We're going to have to work harder if we want to move on to the actual playoff round," noted 13 year old Ben Harris, a mainstay within the Rockhounds organization. "We have a lot of new players this year. We definitely have to play better "D", and we have to get more goals on offense and help Cloe out."

That would be goaltender Cloe Douillette, just recently returned from capturing her second consecutive gold medal as a member of Team Ontario at the National Girls Lacrosse Championships.

"I thought I was more confident in myself this year because I had already been to nationals," she said. Her provincial team finished with a record of 5-1 in Halifax, a run that featured a 5-3 win over British Columbia in the gold medal game.

Earning the start between the pipes in four of her team's six outings, including the championship final, Douillette was named to the tournament all-star team, posting a goals against average of just 1.75, awfully impressive in the high scoring world of lacrosse.

"I think I got faster, because the shots of the bantams are more precise," she said. "And the speed of the game is way faster now than in peewee, so I had to get faster both mentally and physically." Douillette was one of just five players who returned to Team Ontario to defend the banner they captured last year in Calgary.

No surprise then that the key task for the Sudbury crew is likely to come at the other end of the floor, with Douillette more likely than not to keep her team in almost every game this weekend. "I need to score more than I have been," suggested Harris.

"I need to shoot more and shoot for the lower corners. You're not going to score much up high on these goalies." Understandably, coach Benoit Douillette is likely to turn to those who have been there before to handle the heavy lifting, offensively, for the Rockhounds.

As such, 13 year old Hunter McLean will be called upon to showcase his defensive acumen in his first year as a member of the local rep team, a skill set that he has truly committed to, most noticeably in the area of defensive zone coverage.

"You have to stick with your man, don't look at his stick, because that can go anywhere," said McLean. "Stare right at his chest, because it doesn't move unless he moves." A houseleague lacrosse player since his novice years, McLean is thankful for the chance to suit up with the Rockhounds this summer, in spite of the extra demands competitive lacrosse will place on his game.

"It's a lot more fun playing rep," noted McLean. "There's more aggressiveness, and we're playing against harder people, learning more." The Bantam Rockhound team consists of Ben Harris, Brandon Salem, Aidan Teeter, Ethan Teeter, Keegan Esquimaux-Osawamick, Mason Lachance, Hunter McLean, Zak Thompson, Ashton Eadie, Jared Eadie-Chartrand, Easton Hinschberger, Blake Ramalho and Cloé Douillette.

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