What a weekend it was for the North Bay Trappers. Venerable coach Guy Blanchard and the Trappers capped an unbeaten weekend with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Toronto Young Nationals to capture the gold medal in the under 16 AAA division at the Kitchener Blueline Hockey Tournament.
Jesse Lefebvre scored the game-winning goal after a tremendous back-checking effort by Nate Gravelle who forced a turnover with 10 seconds remaining in a 3 on 3 overtime as Zach Major took the puck, spun around, and fed a wide-open Lefebvre for the game-winner.
“Gravelle caused a turnover and gave Zach the puck and I read the play and went to the net and it was a beautiful pass by Zach to me and all I had to do was put it in it was a good team effort,” said the hard-working Lefebvre about the game-winner.
Masen Wray forced overtime as he scored the tying goal in the final minute with goalie Kaleb Papineau on the bench for the extra attacker. Papineau was named the tournament most valuable player.
Aforementioned coach Guy Blanchard has his U16 Trappers playing well as, combined with Great North Under 18 Hockey League play, North Bay has a record of 10-0-1 in an 11 game span.
“Our team has been kind of stepping up our game since a win over the (under 18) Soo (Jr. Greyhounds) and we have been on a little roll and they are building some confidence,” said Blanchard.
“They are starting to move the puck a lot better especially coming out of our zone and they competed hard all weekend. They had one bad game which resulted in a tie but after that, we played well and the boys worked hard,” Blanchard added.
The Trappers got to the championship game thanks to a convincing 4-0 win on Sunday morning over the Oakville Rangers. Landon Jones, Masen Wray, Heath Bradley, and Nate Gravelle had the goals while Kaleb Papineau was solid in goal getting the shutout.
On Friday, the Trappers defeated the Barrie Colts 2-1 and tied the Guelph Gryphons 2-2. Then on Saturday, the Trappers got rolling with a 3-2 win over the Chatham-Kent Cyclones and a 5-2 win over the host Kitchener Rangers to finish 3-0-1 during round-robin play.
— with files from Chris Dawson
Members of the Trappers include Jesse Lefebvre, Nate Gravelle, Masen Wray, Anthony Boyes, Heath Bradley, Marshall McCharles, Mason Brownlee, Caleb Dawson, Cayden Kowal, Landon Jones, Albert Bouley, Zach Major, Davis Anello, Ayden Thomason, Jacob McGill, Grayson Bradley, Lucas Nashkawa, Michael Purkhart and Kaleb Papineau. Coaches: Guy Blanchard, Bob Lekun. Trainer: Andre Guenette. Manager: Denis Major.