Fort squad places third

The Skates & Blades/International Floor Coverings girls’ hockey team finished third at an Atom tournament in Dryden last weekend after earning a pair of ties against two losses in four double round-robin games.
They opened action Saturday morning with a 2-2 tie versus the Dryden GM Blazers after trailing 2-0 in the third period. Krystine Marchuk brought the Fort back with a pair of unassisted tallies.
Marchuk then staked the Fort to a 1-0 lead against the Thunder Bay Stars, scoring at 8:47 of the first period. After the Stars fought back to grab a 2-1 lead in the second, Heather Dutton, assisted by Danielle Gibson, netted one to make it 2-2 with 1:50 left in the period.
But Thunder Bay put the game away in the third when Stephanie Schnepf scored her second and third goals of the game past Fort goalie Angela Shoemaker.
In the rematch Sunday morning against Dryden, the game once again ended in a tie–this time 1-1.
Marchuk got the Fort on the scoreboard first with 2:39 left in the second period but that lead was short-lived as Clarissa Wesley tied the score for Dryden exactly a minute later.
The game was a “barn burner” in the third, with both teams failing to capitalize on their scoring chances in a back-and-forth period.
The Fort then closed out the tournament with a 4-0 shutout to Thunder Bay, which gave the Stars first place in the three-team tourney, followed by host Dryden.
But co-coach Stuart McIvor said the lopsided score in that last game was not indicative of the play. In fact, he felt they could have been earned a tie–or even won–had they been able to capitalize on their abundance of quality scoring chances.
“The score doesn’t give you an indication of how close the game was,” he noted. “We outplayed them in the third period.”
Lauren Pierce, Heather Dutton, and Katie Stearns all had plenty of chances to score only to be stymied by the strong goaltending of Faith Bruyere.
McIvor also was pleased with the effort and play of several of his Novice-aged players–Carly Hyatt, Kali Hamilton, Stearns, Pierce, and Gibson–who played well against the more experienced Dryden players.
He also said the team got strong performances last weekend from Melanie Pierce, Kristen Kelly, Ashley Ryan, and Laura Busch.
Add all this to the strong goaltending of Shoemaker, whom he praised as one of the top players in the area this season, and McIvor is optimistic about this team next year.
“[Shoemaker] makes such a difference. We would be sunk without her,” he stressed, noting she made the move to goalie midway through this season.
“She’s been effective and so far it has worked for her,” he added. “She’s a real student of the game. She plays really well when she gets lots of shots, and she has good [reflexes].”