Canadians settle for fourth

Mitch Calvert

The Fort Frances Canadians reached the bronze-medal game at a tournament in Grand Forks over the weekend, but dropped a thrilling 4-3 shootout loss to the Huron All-Stars to finish in fourth place.
“We had four veterans watching from the stands for off-ice disciplinary reasons, so we went into the game with a young squad and they responded nicely,” interim head coach Marcel Pagee said.
“The boys were a little exhausted because we had some gruelling games the day before, but we took it to them in the first,” he added. “[Huron] poured it on in the third and our guys were exhausted, and they just wore us down.”
Jordan Sinclair and Brett Bodnarchuk had first-period goals as the Canadians led 2-0, but Huron battled back to send the game to overtime.
The extra period decided nothing, but Huron was able to get two past James Wallin in the shootout while Jeff Gustafson got the lone one for the Canadians.
The Canadians won their first game 4-3 over Langdon/Park River, getting goals from Brandon Sinclair, Cole Calder, Gustafson, and Tim Sharp.
They suffered a setback in their next outing, a penalty-filled 4-1 loss to the Pierre Capitals in which D.J. Bombay netted their lone goal.
The Midget ‘AA’ squad then advanced to the bronze-medal game after a convincing 5-0 defeat of the Rugby Ice Dogs, getting singles from Jordan Sinclair, Brandon Sinclair, Jeff Cridland, Bodnarchuk, and Sharp.
Wes Brown earned the shutout in goal.
“We’re showing a lot of depth with our young guys,” Pagee praised. “They are plugging away and we’re getting goals from different guys.
“Everybody is just getting comfortable and once in a while the odd guy will bury one, so it’s been nice to see them get rewarded for working hard.”
Pagee admitted a lack of discipline cost them a chance at a better showing on the weekend.
“We had some discipline issues both on and off the ice that were dealt with,” he noted. “Taking too many dumb penalties. We need to just play the game because other than those issues, we are doing really well.
“When you are shorthanded, it affects your bench and it has a ripple effect,” he warned. “You are wearing out the guys you need to produce because they are out killing penalties.”
The Canadians now head to Duluth this weekend for another tournament.
“I’m hoping we go on an upswing now, and hopefully we can continue on . . . and finish up the season on a good note,” Pagee enthused.