Bruins prevail in all-Thunder Bay final

Lucas Punkari

Even though they were outnumbered by four teams from Fort Frances and Emo, a pair of Thunder Bay Midget ‘A’ squads proved to the best of the bunch during a weekend tournament here.
The West End Bruins and South End Jr. Stars were the top two teams following round-robin play with identical 2-0-1 records, which earned them a berth in Sunday afternoon’s final, which the Bruins won by a 3-1 score.
“Overall, I thought we had a pretty good tournament,” said Bruins’ coach Jordan Smith said.
“We had our best game today [Sunday] here against another team from Thunder Bay, and I think that showed on the scoreboard,” he added.
The Bruins opened the scoring early in the first period when Andrew Pedersen snuck the puck past Stars’ goalie Austin Morrisseau, with Torin Bergagnini giving his team a two-goal lead late in the second.
In the third period, the Stars applied a ton of pressure on the Bruins, with David Maxfield ruining Felix Quisses’ shutout bid with a point shot that found the back of the net with 5:19 to play.
But Pedersen sealed the win for his team just 33 second later, scoring on a speedy rush down the ice to regain the Bruins’ two-goal cushion that they would not relinquish.
“They [the Stars] had beaten us the last three times in a row in our league play back home going into this game,” noted Bruins’ captain William Cawley.
“Going into [Sunday’s] game, we knew that this was a bigger game than those other ones and it was very important for us to win,” he added.
“And as a result, we were able to play a good strong game.”
Despite the loss, Stars’ head coach Rivo Menei was pleased with how his team performed over the weekend.
“I’m happy with how the guys played all weekend,” he said. “And even though we didn’t get the breaks in the final game, those guys (the Bruins) deserved to win.
“Right now we are in the bottom of our division back home, but I think this tournament here is going to help us out a lot when we get back as playing strong teams this weekend is huge,” Menei added.
“It’s a lot better to have a game to help the guys out than to have a practice,” he reasoned.
As for the local teams, the Emo Stars were tops after edging the O.P.P. (Fort Frances) 3-2 in a shootout in the consolation final earlier Sunday.
After the squads traded a pair of first-period goals, the game remained scoreless until the third round of the shootout, when Logan Jackson’s shot rang off the goal post and into the net to give Emo the win.
“It feels pretty good right now, but it was a tough haul to get to this point for the guys,” smiled head coach Chad Jackson.
“In our league play this year, we have been dominating them [the O.P.P.] so far,” he noted.
“But as we all know, anyone can stand up and go hard in these tournaments, and that’s what makes these games exciting.”
While losing in a shootout was a tough pill to swallow for the O.P.P. players, coach Mike Allen felt his team had nothing to be disappointed about.
“We had been beaten by Emo in the past, and before the game we told the guys to just keep it close and do what they do best,” he explained.
“They were able to do just that. And as you saw in the shootout, anything can happen when you get to that point.”
Rounding out the local squads were the fifth-place Emo Cowboys (1-2) and sixth-place FFMHA (0-3).