GALLERY: Team Haupt, Bollinger, Spencer takes Novice title

THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS Amanda Lafleur, of Team Decontie, Brisson, Tremblay, reaches in to knock the puck off the stick of Team Brousseau, Campbell, Dickson’s McKinley Pietila during the Atom Division championship game at the first-annual Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Tournament at the McIntyre Arena Thursday morning. Team Decontie, Brisson, Tremblay went on to post an 8-1 victory in the contest.

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The inaugural Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Tournament wrapped up Thursday morning at the McIntyre Arena with a pair of exciting finals.

In the Novice Division final, Team Haupt, Bollinger, Spencer held on for a thrilling 4-3 victory over Team Capisciolto, Redmond, Moreau after goalie Cole Wilson stopped three-straight penalty shots to preserve the victory.

Wilson’s teammates immediately streamed off the bench and buried the goalie under a pile of hockey humanity.

The netminder, who normally mans the crease for the Schumacher Cubs, didn’t seem to mind too much, however.

“I was looking forward to it,” Wilson said.

“With my team, the Cubs, I always like being on the bottom of the pile. It happened a lot last season.”

Regulation ended with Team Haupt, Bollinger, Spencer up 4-2, but the 20-minute session saw Team Capisciolto, Redmond, Moreau accumulate four penalty shots to their one.

As it turned out, Team Capisciolto, Redmond, Moreau’s Hayden Roy was the lone shooter to find the back of the net for either squad.

“When I saw they had four penalty shots, I got kind of nervous, but I got looser and looser after each shot,” Wilson said.

The goalie knew his teammates had his back in regulation, so he was happy to return the favour.

“I had lots of confidence in the players in front of me and look what happened,” Wilson said.

The youngster has been playing goal for the past three or four years.

“When I was in Timbits, I stayed back near the goal a lot, so that’s why I decided to become a goalie,” Wilson said.

Like the majority of the players taking part in the inaugural Timmins Rock 3-on-3 Tournament, he had a great time.

“It was really a lot of fun,” Wilson said.

Things were not quite so close in the Atom Division final, with Team Decontie, Brisson, Tremblay spanking Team Brousseau, Campbell, Dickson 8-1.

That was the score at the end of regulation and Team Decontie, Brisson, Tremblay goalie Jaret Fenton-Chypyha turned aside seven penalty-shot attempts to keep it that way.

Team Brousseau, Campbell, Dickson goalie Rowen Toshack also denied the lone penalty-shot attempt he faced.

Timmins Rock president Ted Gooch was pleased with the inaugural two-day event.

“Last year, we had a holiday public skating session with the Rock and this year we decided to make things a little bit more competitive,” he said.

“We had seen how popular three-on-three tournaments are becoming and we decided to hold a three-on-three tournament during the holiday break.”

There were four 10-player teams entered in the Novice Division and the Atom Division, with Rock players divided up to coach the entries.

“We were a little late getting things organized, so we had to use the ice that was available here at the McIntyre Arena,” Gooch said.

“We had about nine hours of ice available, so we had to jam things over the course of two days so that each team could have a minimum of five games.”

Despite the one-sided score in the Atom Division final, the majority of games played throughout the tournament were very competitive.

“The teams were very balanced and there were a couple of games that had to be decided by shootouts,” Gooch said.

“We are very happy with the way things turned out.”

With the players serving as bench bosses, might we have seen a preview of what things could look like 10 or 15 years from now when Corey Beer has moved on to coach his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs?

“You never know, there could be some coaching in their future,” Gooch said.

“It certainly created a good rivalry between some of our Rock players and it helped out with some more team bonding, as well.

“They were really competitive about things out there.”

In addition to putting on their coaching caps, the players also served as referees and linesmen for the games — perhaps giving them a better understanding of the challenges faced by the guys who wear the striped shirts full time.

Once the championship games had concluded on Thursday, a public skating sessions was once again held with all the Rock players.

“We like to give the public a chance to get out and skate with the Rock players,” Gooch said.

The youngsters who took part in this year’s event will be happy to note Rock officials are looking forward to organizing another during next year’s holidays.

“We have already had a lot of requests and we will look at opening it up to Peewee- and Bantam-age players, as well,” Gooch said.

“With a little bit more planning, we should be able to book some more ice. Hopefully, we will be able to have another solid, two-day tournament.”

Having a Junior ‘A’ Division, with Rock players getting a chance to display their skills might be another option, as well.

“That would be a good idea, for sure, and we even thought about having a little mini-all-star skills competition,” Gooch said.

“We could open up the arena to the fans, with some hardest-shot and fastest-skating kind of events.”