The NGS Atom C Braves captured the A championship at a tournament in Leeds on Nov. 25.
The Braves met St. Lawrence Minor Hockey League division rival Char-Lan Rebels in the final and won by a 4-3 score. Alex Simon scored two goals in the victory with singles going to Rowan Smith and Hayden Darling. The back-and-forth contest went NGS’ way after the Braves’ Simon potted the winner with just over 10 minutes remaining and the Braves were able to hold off the charging Rebels.
To reach the final, the Braves won a tie-breaker with Leeds by having a better goal-against total from the round robin portion of the tournament. That was made possible after a comeback in Game 2 of the tournament against the hosts. Down by a pair of goals to the Leeds Chargers, the Braves scored twice in the final three minutes to salvage a tie. Darling and Simon hit the back of the net sparking the huge NGS comeback.
Novice C affiliates Quinn Anderson and Payton Leger were called up in the tournament as the Braves were short-staffed and the tired players needed some respite. In fact, NGS entered the tournament with the smallest roster player-wise by quite a margin and Game 1 was played with just two spare players on the bench.
“I’m sure the kids slept well Saturday night because they left it all out on the ice,” said head coach Eric McDonell. “It was an experience to see the kids skating around the rink with the plaque they won. You'd think they just won the Stanley Cup. I am very proud of those kids for the efforts they put forth all day. They never let up and played to the best of their abilities.”
In the tournament opener, the Braves scored a 3-0 victory over Almonte-Pakenham Thunder. Dryden Coleman was flawless in goal recording the shutout while Smith scored twice and Simon added a single.