Canadians prep for Grand Forks

Mitch Calvert

The Fort Frances Canadians Midget ‘AA’ hockey team played a pair of exhibition games last week in preparation for a tournament in Grand Forks this coming weekend.
The Canadians opened action last Tuesday against the International Falls Broncos’ junior varsity squad, winning by a 4-3 score.
Jeff Cridland netted up the game’s first goal as the Canadians led 1-0 after 20 minutes.
They added to their lead in the second as Jordan Sinclair and Nathan Jodoin both found the back of the net, while the Broncos replied with one, giving the Canadians a two-goal cushion heading into the final period.
The Broncos closed to gap to one to start the third, but Ryder Woolsey connected on a much-needed insurance marker that turned out to be the game-winner. James Wallin earned the win between the pipes.
“James Wallin has really come around for us,” Canadians’ assistant coach Marcel Pagee lauded.
“I think he was struggling with his comfort level earlier in the season, but he’s got some confidence lately and realizes that the boys have confidence in him, and the coaches believe in him, too,” Pagee added.
“He’s been eating the puck up well, covering up rebounds, and the guys are playing well in front of him.”
The Canadians then headed to Grand Rapids and beat their Jr. Gold team 2-1.
Woolsey and Jeff Gustafson scored for Fort Frances while Wes Brown registered the win in goal.
“We outplayed them by a bunch, I think the shots were 37-13 and the score wasn’t indicative of what the play was,” Pagee noted.
“I think they had some of their high school players end up suiting up with them when they are home, but I don’t think they were much stronger from when we last played them,” he added.
“Their [goalie] was great, saw a lot of rubber for a young guy, and handled it well.”
Despite the pair of wins, Pagee warned the team is going to need to elevate their game to another level if they expect success in Grand Forks this weekend.
“We kind of took a step back as far as our level of play is concerned,” he stressed. “We need to pick up our socks and get ready for the weekend in Grand Forks.
“But they have got to want it for themselves,” Pagee remarked. “The coaching staff can’t put the gear on and do it for them.”