Gladiators roar to tourney crown


Landon Okell and Benjamin Norlock each scored twice to pace the Red Lake Gladiators to a 7-1 romp over the Lake of the Woods Bears here Sunday afternoon to claim the title of the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association’s annual Bantam ‘A’ tournament.
After a mostly back-and-forth first period, the Gladitors struck three times within the last five minutes to grab a 3-0 lead.
Nicholas Ducharme opened the scoring with 4:30 left in the frame when he fired home the loose puck during a goalmouth scramble.
Less than a minute later, Okell tallied his first of the game as he fired a rocket into the Bears’ net from the slot.
Norlock then notched his first just 15 seconds before intermission with a shot that he banked into the net off Bears’ goalie Mason Kreger.
Joshua Peters finally got the Bears on the board just 30 seconds into the second when he rifled home a bullet from the left face-off circle.
But the Bears’ fortunes changed drastically from there as Ashton Andersen came back less than a minute later and fired one home to put the Gladiators back up by three.
Norlock, Okell, and Jayden Millete then all bulged the twine in the third to cap the scoring.
The Gladiators had opened tourney play Friday afternoon with a 4-0 shutout of the Current River Comets.
The squad then beat the Norwest Stars 6-4 that night before eking out a 2-1 win over the Fort Frances Wu Warriors on Saturday morning.
Marcus Allen scored the Warriors’ lone goal in the first period of that one.
Red Lake then blanked the Westfort Maroons (Thunder Bay) 2-0 on Saturday afternoon before rolling to a 7-1 romp over the Fort Frances Holmlund Leafs in Sunday morning’s semi-final.
Merrick Cheetham scored the Leafs’ lone goal in the second period of that one.
The Warriors had opened play Friday afternoon with a 6-0 shutout win over the Stars.
Tristan Yerxa notched four markers in that one while Braeden Beazley and Holden Dvorak got the other goals.
That good fortune didn’t last, though, as the Warriors then were routed 7-1 by the Fort William Hurricanes that afternoon.
Yerxa scored his team’s lone tally in the third.
After the 2-1 loss to the Gladiators on Saturday morning, the Warriors capped tourney play with a 5-0 loss to the Comets to finish with a 1-3 record.
The Fort Frances Greens Predators, meanwhile, compiled a 1-2-1 record at the tourney.
They opened play Friday afternoon with a 4-3 loss to the Bears.
Grayson Burnell, Parker Nastiuk, and Liam Maitland all bulged the twine in a losing cause.
But the squad rebounded with a 3-1 victory over the Comets that afternoon (goal scorers were unknown).
The Predators then followed that up with a 3-3 tie against the Stars on Saturday morning on goals by Kaleb Fernandez, Joel Calder, and Brennan Jordain.
The Predators then ended tourney play with a 1-0 loss to the Hurricanes.
As for the Leafs, they opened play Friday afternoon with a 3-1 loss to the Maroons.
Cole Kreger scored his squad’s lone tally in the second period.
They followed that up with a 5-3 loss to the Bears that night, with Conrad Jr. Wilson scoring twice and Cheetham added a single.
The Leafs rebounded in a big way Saturday morning as they blanked the Hurricanes 3-0.
Reed McKinnon tallied twice in that one while Wilson also scored.
The Leafs then finished preliminary play with a 3-1 victory over the Stars that afternoon.
Trent Wilson, McKinnon, and Brayden Morriseau were the goal scorers.
Up next is the FFMHA’s annual PeeWee ‘AA’ tournament, which is slated for this Friday through Sunday (Jan. 11-13) at the Ice For Kids Arena.