Hockey season winding down quickly for most

As hard as it is to believe, especially given the amount of snow that remains on the ground here probably will melt away by mid-July, we are entering the latter stages of the 2012/13 hockey season.
With both Muskie high school squads capping off their seasons over the weekend with Northland Cup wins, and the slate of local hockey tournaments having wrapped up Saturday with the IP Jamboree, all that remains at the Memorial Sports Center this season is the playoffs in minor hockey, the annual 3-on-3 league, and the SIJHL playoffs for the Fort Frances Lakers.
However, a number of local players plying their trade elsewhere are entering the home stretch of their campaigns, or already have entered the off-season.
Three Fort Frances natives, for instance, currently are getting ready for the final weekend of the WCHA regular season as the opening round of the conference playoffs will be getting underway March 15.
The St. Cloud State Huskies currently hold a two-point lead over Minnesota and North Dakota for first place in the standings, thanks, in large part, to the play of local goalie Ryan Faragher.
The sophomore netminder has started in 32 games this season, and sports a 19-11-1 record with a 2.36 GAA heading into this weekend’s road games against the Wisconsin Badgers.
Meanwhile, Joe Basaraba (Minnesota-Duluth) and Mitch Cain (Bemidji State) will be looking to finish their regular seasons on a winning note on home ice as both the Bulldogs and Beavers will be on the road for the opening round of the playoffs.
Basaraba, a prospect of the Florida Panthers, has scored seven goals and chipped in six times for the Bulldogs in his junior season while Cain just has one assist in 28 games for the Beavers in his sophomore campaign.
Unfortunately, Jillian Langtry’s freshman season for the Maine Black Bears came to an end over the weekend as her team lost in a WHEA quarter-final game to Boston College.
Langtry, who starred for the Muskie girls here before moving on to the Thunder Bay Queens last season, scored her lone goal of the season in an exhibition game against Dalhousie. She also had a pair of assists during the regular season in two games against Brown.
Over in the CCHL, former Fort Frances Laker Jordan Larson and the rest of the Pembroke Lumber Kings currently are in the midst of a six-game winning streak heading into their regular-season finale this Friday at home.
Larson, who was dealt to the Lumber Kings over the summer, has had a strong first season in Pembroke, sitting third in team scoring with 55 points in 54 games.
Up in Kenora, the Midget ‘AAA’ Thistles saw their season in the Manitoba league come to an end Friday with a 4-3 overtime loss to Brandon to complete a quarter-final sweep for the Wheat Kings.
However, that doesn’t mark the end of the season for goalie Scott Parsons, defenceman Davis Ross, and forward Nolan Ross. The Fort Frances natives now are getting ready to take on the Thunder Bay Kings in the HNO playdowns next weekend before hosting the Telus Cup Western Regional tournament on April 4-7.
But it’s not just those from this area who are making an impact elsewhere. Some former members of the Fort Frances Lakers have had strong seasons in the collegiate ranks.
Tyler Ampe, who helped the Lakers reach the SIJHL final last season, was stellar in goal for the Williston State College Tetons on Feb. 24 as his team took home the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association championship with a 3-2 win over the Monroe College Tribunes.
Dwight Lee, who suited up briefly for the Lakers in 2009/10 before playing in Dryden and Sioux Lookout, had a strong three-points performance, as well, in the title game—scoring the game-tying maker and setting up the game-winner.
Steve Terry, Henry Gutierrez, and Ryan Presthus were the other three ex-Lakers on the Tetons.
Meanwhile, former Laker captains Tyler Stevenson and Blake Boaz have their backs against the wall in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference semi-finals as their Concordia Thunder trail the NAIT Ooks 2-0 in the best-of-five series.
Both players have been in on the scoring so far in the playoffs. Boaz has a goal and an assist in four games while Stevenson has helped out on two of his team’s markers.