Clare-Digby Peewee A captures SEDMHA gold
CLARE-DIGBY, N.S. – The Clare-Digby peewee A hockey team captured gold at the premier hockey event in Eastern Canada over the March 30-April 2 weekend.
(Front row) Goalie Spencer Hazel, goalie Maxime Hanna, Nicholas Goodwin, Leon Bouchard (Back row) Coach Pernell Muise, Ryker Pulley, coach Sam Muise, Alain Theriault, Luc Deveau, Jean Luc Comeau, Avery Charlton, Tayson Maillet, Zach LeBlanc, Simon Muise, Lance Kaiser, Nema Hanna, coach Logan Melanson.
CLARE-DIGBY, N.S. – After an impressive 15-3-1 season for Clare-Digby Bantam A – with 124 goals for and only 46 goals against – the team headed into their last tournament of the season looking to clinch gold at SEDMHA.
Clare-Digby entered the tournament with only 12 of 13 skaters, having lost Jean Luc Comeau to a season-ending shoulder injury that occurred during his first shift at the Joe Lamontagne tournament. Jean Luc was the team’s third leading point getter, tied with his line mate, Simon Muise.
Approaching the tournament, the Clare-Digby team had no idea the toll this seven-game tournament would take.
The opening game was against the Chebucto Atlantic's. Within the first 4 minutes Nicholas LeBlanc opened the scoring for Clare-Digby – his first of three goals in the game – after being fed the puck by Zach LeBlanc. Leon Bouchard, the team’s leading point getter during the regular season, had two goals and one assist, with Lance Kaiser netting another one. Assists came from Nic Goodwin and Nema Hanna. In net Spencer Hazel came within 62 seconds of a shutout as the game ended in a 6-1 win over Chebucto.
The next game was a 4-2 win over the Bedford Blues.
Lance Kaiser who played defence most of the year, evolved as a forward during this tournament. He opened the scoring with a little more than two minutes left in the first period and finished the game with two points, his first multiple point game of the season. Also scoring were Nicholas Goodwin (2) and Alain Theriault. Leon Bouchard assisted on all four goals in the game. Other assists were from Simon Muise, Nicholas Goodwin and Tayson Maillet.
This game saw one of Clare-Digby’s top defenceman, Luc Deveau, having to leave the game after an unfortunate bad call in the first period. This left the Clare-Digby squad down to 11 skaters for the remainder of that game and the next two.
In their third game Clare-Digby faced off against the Halifax Hawks red team and skated away with the 6-4 win. The scoring was quite spread out with defenseman Alain Theriault with a hard shot from the point, Leon Bouchard scoring two goals, Nicholas Goodwin getting a goal and three assists and Lance Kaiser adding another goal.
Game 4 was against TASA and ended 7-3 in Clare-Digby’s favour. Goaltender Max Hanna put on a stellar performance between the pipes.
Leon Bouchard recorded a hat trick and two assists, Simon Muise had a goal and three assists and regular season leading goal scorer Nicholas Goodwin had two goals and two assists.
Avery Charlton, who missed much of the regular season with two separate injuries, gave a solid performance on the blue line while scoring a goal. Zach LeBlanc, Lance Kaiser and Alain Theriault all had an assist.
In the team’s fifth game in three days they run into a very fast hard-hitting Lewisville Lightning Bantam AA team from New Brunswick, which was the Lightning’s first match of the day. The team was by far the most challenging team that Clare-Digby met this hockey season. The New Brunswick team took the 5-1 win. The Lightning dominated the first half with heavy hitting and four first-period goals. Nicholas Goodwin helped his team avoid the shutout with 5 minutes left in the game.
The Clare-Digby squad did not come out of the game unscathed, leaving with bumps, bruises and injuries and forced the team to have to play another for the chance to move into the championship game.
GAME 6: Semi-final
Their sixth game of SEDMHA, an 8:30 a.m. semi-final matchup, was against the Eastern Shore Mariners, who had handed Clare-Digby one of their three losses of the season. This time Clare-Digby pulled off a spectacular overtime win with Leon Bouchard, who also had two assists in the game, netting the overtime goal. Nicholas Goodwin led the way in scoring natural hat trick in the first period.
Defencemen Luc Deveau had scored what looked to be the game winning goal with a shot from the point but Eastern Shore came back and tied the game with seven minutes left in the third period, setting up the stage for 3-on-3 OT.
Adding two assists each in the game were Alain Theriault and Tayson Maillet. The Clare-Digby coaching staff say Simon Muise and Nema Hanna may not have gotten on the scoreboard but were integral in the win with their strong defensive game, helping Spencer Hazel get the win in net. Nema injured his shoulder during this game, however, forcing him to miss most of the gold medal game.
GAME 7: CHAMPIONSHIP
In the gold medal game in the SEDMHA Odyssey division, Clare-Digby – now playing their seventh game in three days – had to face the only team that had beaten them in the tournament, the Lewisville lightning Bantam AA team.
The gruelling schedule, combined with a shortened bench, would prove to be too much for the Clare Digby team. The team iced 12 skaters but only 10 played the whole game. Goal-scoring forward Nicholas LeBlanc was only able to play at half steam as he played through a lower body injury, not to mention injuries the majority of the team was also playing through.
The game was scoreless going into the second period. Lewisville opened the scoring five minutes into the second. The game ended in a 5-1 loss for Clare-Digby, with one goal being an empty netter. The team tried to muster up some offence by pulling goalie Max Hanna, who put on a stellar performance. Alain Theriault scored the lone goal for Clare-Digby, which took home the silver.
The number one and two overall tournament point getters in goals, assists and points went to linemates Leon Bouchard and Nic Goodwin.