The Fort Frances Atom ‘AA’ Canadians got a great offensive performance from Willem Kirk-Bertens but it wasn’t enough as they dropped a narrow 4-3 decision to the Kenora Thistles in the Bronze-Medal Game on Sunday afternoon of their annual home tournament at “The Duke” (Couchiching Arena).
Kirk-Bertens potted all three of his squad’s goals but the Canadians’ comeback attempt fell short as they had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
After Kale Oulette opened the scoring for the Thistles just 4:11 into the first period, Kirk-Bertens tallied his first of the game unassisted as he skated into the slot and rifled a shot home to knot it at 1-1 less than a minute later.
But with 7:44 to go in the frame, Jaden Van Wallegham fired a shot in from the left side to put Kenora back on top.
Then with both Connor Wilson and Matthew Egan sitting in the penalty box, the Thistles capitalized on the two-man advantage as Sawyer Barclay shovelled home a loose puck in the crease to put the Thistles up 3-1 after 15 minutes.
Kirk-Bertens tallied an unassisted goal with 7:38 to go in the second before then burying a feed in front from Asher Faragher nearly two minutes later to knot it at 3-3.
But not to be outdone, Ander McEwan put the nail in the coffin of the Canadians as he potted a great individual effort with just over five minutes to go in the third to help Kenora snare the bronze.
Tyson Ponton garnered the win in goal over Keaton Cooper over the Canadians.
The Canadians opened tourney play on Friday with an 8-0 win over the Fort Frances Leafs of the Fort Frances Girls’/Women’s Hockey Association.
Benton Ashworth and Gavin Hill both scored twice each while Kirk-Bertens, Egan, Faragher and Gage McKinnon also lit the lamp.
But it was a much different story in their second game on Saturday as the Canadians were thumped 7-1 by the Thistles.
Max Hanson scored the squad’s lone goal in the first period.
But Fort Frances rebounded later in the day with a narrow 3-2 overtime win over the Dryden Paper Kings.
Kirk-Bertens netted a pair in that one in regulation time while McKinnon buried the overtime winner.
That put the Canadians into the semifinals on Sunday morning with a 2-1 record, where they unfortunately were dealt a 7-4 setback by the Norwest Stars (Thunder Bay).
Kirk-Bertens again scored twice in that one while Duncan Hill and Gavin Hill also provided goals for the Canadians.
As for the Leafs, after their opening loss to the Canadians on Friday they then dropped an 11-0 decision to the Stars on Saturday.
The squad then followed that up with an 11-1 setback to the International Falls Broncos later in the day.
Kodi Jo Galbraith netted the Leafs’ lone goal in the third period, with Jersey Rose notching the lone assist on the play.
That left the Leafs with an 0-3 record and put them in the consolation game on Sunday morning, where they again fell by a 6-4 count to the Paper Kings.
Davilyn Miller scored twice in a losing cause for the Leafs while Galbraith and Sayler Easton also bulged the twine.
International Falls claimed the gold medal in the championship game on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 8-3 win over the Stars.
Up next, the FFGWHA will host its Atom and Novice tournament/jamboree this Friday through Sunday at the Memorial Sports Centre.