This past weekend the Soo Spartan Intermediate Lacrosse Team (ages17-21) traveled to Sudbury to participate in the Nickel City Shootout against teams from Sudbury and Midland. The locals played once again with a short bench and started the tournament with two games Friday night against the Sudbury Rockhounds.
In the first game, the Rockhounds came out firing and the Spartans never found their groove and ended up on the wrong side of a 10-1 decision. The lone goal scorer for the Soo team was Nick Hrynuik on a feed from Emmitt MacFarlane.
It would have been easy to come up empty in the second game against Sudbury 2 hours later, but the Spartans did themselves proud. With a tremendous effort and significantly improved defense, not to mention a stellar performance by goalie Daniel Rheaume. the team came out of the gate on a mission. They led 2-1 after the first period on goals by Hrynuik and MacFarlane. Tannor Isaacs assisted on Hrynuik’s goal, while Liam Brechin and Nic Klein picked up the helpers on MacFarlane’s. A second period that saw momentum go back and forth ended in the match being tied at 4 with 3 goals by the Rockhounds and 2 by the Spartans. Goals were scored by Jeremiah Van Benthem (Hrynuik assisting) and Kevin Thomas (Van Benthem picking up the assist). The Sudbury squad then took a quick 2 goal lead in the first 4:31 seconds of the third period. Hyrnuik scored on a breakaway at the 6:25 mark. and Then, 2:33 later, with a Rockhound in the penalty box for cross-checking, on a feed from Bailey Emond, Hrynuik scored again to tie the match up at 6. Regulation time failed to settle things so off to the shootout where the lone goal was scored by Peter Hrynuik. Daniel Rheaume was solid in nets, stopping all three Sudbury shooters. Final score: 7-6 Spartans
Saturday afternoon’s game saw the Midland Braves as the opponents. Although also playing with a short bench, the Braves came out fast and scored the first goal of the match at the 4:22 mark of the first period. The Spartans responded at 11:34 of the period on a goal by Liam Brechin, Van Benthem and Thomas picking up the assists. However , from there on the Spartans, took over momentum in the game with 3 goals in the second period, 2 by Peter Hrynuik and 1 by big brother Nick. Nick Hrynuik, Van Benthem and Brechin picked up the assists. The Braves would score 1 before the period ended, sending the contest to the third with the Spartans up 4-2. Two unanswered goals in the third made the final score 6-2 Spartans. Third period goals were scored by the Hrynuik brothers, older brother Nick picking up the assist on peter’s goal while Van Benthem assisted on Nick’s.
In the final contest of double-down play, again Midland being the opponent, both teams came out with something to prove. The Braves were winless, looking to go home with a win, and the Spartans, already assured of a spot in the final, wanted to carry momentum into the final against Sudbury. Both fulfilled there missions. The first ended in a 2-2 tie. Spartan goals were scored by MacFarlane and N. Hrynuik, with Brechin picking up both assists. The Spartans and Braves would again trade 2 goals each in the second which ended 4-4. Spartan goal scorers were Van Benthem and Isaacs, MacFarlane, Brechin and N. Hrynuik drawing the assists. The Braves then scored at the 10:10 mark of the third to take the lead. End-to-end play would see the Midland squad score again with 48 seconds left to go up by 2. However the Spartans weren’t done yet. With Rheaume pulled for the extra attacker, MacFarlane scored 12 seconds later (Isaacs and P. Hrynuik assisting) to close within 1. Unfortunately, the locals weren’t able to pocket another and the final score saw the Midland Braves win 7-6.
In what was the first final match reached for the Soo Spartan Intermediates since the reorganization of the team under the Sault Ste Marie Lacrosse Association 2 years ago, the Spartans played their hearts out for the fans, but just didn’t have enough left in the tank. Having lost one player to travel commitments and another to injury, the Spartans only had 8 runners to go up against a strong squad from Sudbury, who were sporting a bench of 15. The Rockhounds set the pace from the start and ended up winning the final 12-1. Lone scorer for the Spartans was P. Hrynuik on a feed from Kieran Godreau.
In all, it was a great tournament for the local team. “Every tournament we play, we see steps forward for the team and for the program”, said head coach Jim Van Benthem, “I’m really looking forward to see what we can do at Provincials in Whitby in August”.
At this time, the Spartan Intermediates would like to thank their sponsors: Anne Thomas at RE/MAX Realty, The Sault Ste Marie Airport Development Corporation, and Nav Canada for their gracious support. Also, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SooSpartanIntermediates as well as www.facebook.com/soospartans.