A tale of two AP goalies

January 22, 2023

What were the chances of this? Two goalies from Sault Ste. Marie who play for separate Great North Under 18 Hockey League teams in Sudbury both dressed as affiliate player backups for opposite clubs in the same Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League game.

AJ Borrelli

This is the strange but true story that occurred today when AJ Borrelli was in uniform for the Blind River Beavers and Nick Marson dressed for the Espanola Paper Kings as the two teams faced off in an NOJHL match.

Borrelli, who has a 2006 birth date, plays goal for the Sudbury U18 Nickel Capitals of the GNU18HL. Marson, who has a 2007 birth date, is a goalie with the Sudbury U16 Nickel Capitals of the GNU18HL. And both were called on as APs to serve as respective backup goalies for Blind River and Espanola today.

The two Sault Ste. Marie lads ended up leaving home for Sudbury under different circumstances this season.

Knowing that his hometown Soo Jr. Greyhounds had already committed to out-of-towner Maverick Fletcher as a 2006 birth year goalie, Borrelli headed to Sudbury to try out for — and then make — the U18 Nickel Capitals. Marson, meanwhile, headed to Sudbury to try out for — and then make — the U16 Nickel Capitals after being cut by his hometown Jr. Greyhounds.

NIck Marson

Both are playing well for their Sudbury teams.

Borrelli has a 3-7-0 record and 3.71 goals against average on a lowly U18 Nickel Capitals club that has a team record of 5-14-0 and a 4.11 GAA. And Marson has a 6-2-1 record and 3.19 goals against average on a U16 Nickel Capitals squad that has a team record of 9-7-1 and a 3.71 GAA.

As for Borrelli and Marson being on opposite NOJHL benches as affiliate player backup goalies today, parents of both lads journeyed to Espanola to watch the game between the Paper Kings and Blind River, thus adding a nice family touch to an improbable feel good hockey story.

Not that the story ended the way it started.

With Espanola losing 4-0 late in the second stanza, Paper Kings head coach Jason Rapcewicz pulled starting goalie Creedon Dyck and replaced him with Marson, who stopped all three shots he faced in just over five minutes of action to end the period. Dyck then returned to start the third period only to again be pulled in favour of Marson, who finished up the game, which ended up 7-2 in favour of Blind River.

In all, Marson stopped 10 of 11 shots for a .909 save percentage — allowing only a power play goal — in 18 minutes of action for Espanola in what was an extremely impressive NOJHL debut under baptism by fire.

Goalie Nick Marson, in action for the Espanola Paper Kings today.

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