Rarely has a $10 admission investment paid such a great return!
The 10th-annual Fort Frances Girls’ hockey tournament wrapped up here Sunday with some of the finest talent in this region showcasing their skills.
A total of six Novice teams, six Atom teams, and five Midget squads competed in 42 games played Friday through Sunday.
Championship winners in the Novice division were the International Falls 8U squad, which claimed gold with a 6-3 win over the Kenora White Lightning, while it was the Dryden Ice Bergs downing Fort Frances Kaemingh Esso 6-4 to take home Atom gold.
And in the Midget division, the Time Out Sport Bruins upended the Calypso Eliminators 2-1 to make it a Dryden sweep of the gold and silver medals.
Here are the game results for the Fort Frances teams in the tournament:
< *c>Novice division
< *c>Rolling Lake
< *c>Lightning White
With a total of 21 players enrolled in the local Novice girls program, the team was split into two squads for tournament play.
The Rolling Lake “Whites,” headed up by Todd Hamilton and Pat Langtry, started play Friday afternoon with a tilt against the Kenora Black Sabrecats.
In what was a nail-biter throughout, the Cats clawed their way to a 1-0 win on the strength of a second-period goal.
Rolling Lake suited up again Friday night to face the eventual bronze-medalist Dryden Bert’s Towing, who build a 4-0 lead after the first period and then struck for three more goals in a 7-2 victory.
Scoring for Rolling Lake were Lauren Hamilton (unassisted) and Shannon Bird (from Annelise Hayes).
Game 3 for Rolling Lake came Saturday morning as they skated against the Kenora White Lightning. Chances were many, but goals were at a premium as Hayes scored an unassisted marker with 8:18 to go in the third period to clinch a 1-0 win.
The win propelled the Lightning into a rematch with the Kenora Sabrecats in the fifth-place game.
The Lightning struck first, with Hayes putting the home squad up 1-0 at 8:21 of the opening frame. The Sabrecats then responded with three-straight goals before Bird tallied with 1:39 left in the period.
The Lightning evened the score at 3-3 in the second period as Hayes scored her second of the game (assisted by Bird).
A scoreless third period sent the game to overtime, where Sabrecat Sarah Francom netted the decisive goal—her second of the game—to ice the victory for Kenora.
< *c>Rolling Lake
< *c>Lightning Black
The Rolling Like Lightning “Black” team, with Gary Noga and Chrissy Visser behind the bench, began the tournament Friday at noon as they faced off against their cross-border rivals from International Falls.
The Falls’ 8U girls had plenty of jump as they scored three goals in the first period, four in the second, and one more in the third en route to an 8-0 shutout victory.
Undaunted, the home side skated again Friday afternoon against the Kenora White Lightning. Kenora grabbed a 1-0 lead after the first before Rolling Lake’s Emma Noga evened the score at 6:44 of the second period.
A pair of goals in the third (Noga unassisted for the Lightning and Heino for Kenora) resulted in a 2-2 draw.
Back on the ice Saturday morning, the “Black” Lightning goal scorers went to work as Noga scored one in the first and another in the second, and then Kassidy Fryer netted the third goal with 59 seconds left in regulation time to earn a 3-0 shutout.
The Saturday morning victory earned the Lightning a semi-final rematch with International Falls.
In a masterful display of scoring, Falls’ 8U sniper Lexi Edwards fired home five goals to lead the future Broncos to a 5-0 win and a date in the gold-medal final.
With the loss, the Lightning were relegated to the bronze-medal match Sunday morning against Bert’s Towing.
With nine energetic skaters and Kassidy Fryer between the pipes, Rolling Lake came out flying. Both teams had first-period chances, with Dryden’s Leah Balla scoring first—collecting a breakaway rebound and hammering it home with 2:39 left.
But the Lightning answered right back as defender Abby Plourde jumped off the left point and threw a hard backhand to the net. Caitlyn Visser and Alyssa Alderson pounced on the rebound, with Visser drawing the assist and Alderson scoring the goal to tie the game at 1-1.
The second period featured great scoring chances by Sara Jackson and Noga, but no goals for the Lightning.
Perhaps the story of the game was the play of Fryer between the pipes. The young netminder, who tends goal every so often, made repeated big-league stops—keeping her team on the cusp of victory.
The only puck to elude her in the second frame was a breakaway shot by Kyla Kruger, low on the blocker side, to give Kenora a 2-1 edge.
The third period was a showcase of skill on both sides with great pressure by Rolling Lake to score the equalizer. With just minutes to play, Noga took a feed from Plourde and cruised in alone only to be denied.
Jackson’s rebound also was repelled.
Despite pulling Fryer and adding a sixth attacker, the tying tally never materialized as Bert’s Towing claimed bronze with a 2-1 win.
< *c>Lakewood Tire Eagles
Lakewood Tire opened the tournament Friday going skate-to-skate with the International Falls 10U girls.
Hard-working centre Jessica Coran put the Eagles on the board first as she fired home an unassisted goal with just under three minutes left in the first period.
The second period belonged to International Falls as Bliss and Dahlin scored to make it 2-1.
The third proved to be a high scoring frame, with the Falls grabbing a 3-1 lead. Maddi Bruyere scored unassisted to close the gap to 3-2 but the Falls struck for two more goals to close out a 5-2 win.
Game two for the Eagles was played Friday evening against the Dryden Guenther Flooring Flames and the supper hour contest served up a feast of first-period scoring.
Bruyere (unassisted) at 7:58 and Coran (from Rachel Jean) at 5:13 offset a pair of goals from Dryden’s Cara Balla to end the first frame tied at 2-2.
A fast, clean game continued in periods two and three, but no further goals were scored.
The Eagles returned to the ice Saturday afternoon and were frozen off the score sheet by the Dryden Ice Bergs. In a dominating performance, the Gardiner girls lit the lamp seven times ( Mariah with four, Demi with two, and Victoria the other) as the Bergs won 7-0.
The loss put Lakewood Tire into the fifth-place game just an hour later against the Dryden GM Blazers.
Rachel Jean opened the scoring unassisted at 10:27 of the first. Dryden answered just 1:26 later as Lindsey Oliphant tied the game, but Coran netted her third goal of the tournament with 2:14 left to send Lakewood to the intermission leading 2-1.
The Blazers wheeled back into the game—scoring twice early in the second for a 3-2 lead—before Sydney Johnson (from Coran) knotted the score at 3-3.
But a pair of late goals gave Dryden a two-goal advantage after two periods, and the third period produced no scoring as Dryden closed out a 5-3 victory.
< *c>Kaemingh Esso
Kaemingh Esso began tournament play Saturday afternoon as they dropped the puck with Dryden’s Guenther Flooring Flames.
The Kaemingh crew scored first as forward Myla Angus, assisted by linemate Claire Sandelovich, put the home side up 1-0.
They scored again at the 3:20 mark of the second as defender Amy Penner scored her first of the tournament (unassisted) to increase the lead to 2-0.
A late goal by Liz Carter closed the period with Esso up 2-1—a score that held up through a scoreless third period as coach Stu McIver’s Kaemingh squad registered the victory.
Esso played their second game Saturday at 7:45 a.m. and made tracks over the Dryden GM Blazers.
The low-scoring affair featured a pair of markers by Esso’s Amber Jourdain. Her first goal came unassisted at 8:57 of the opening period, with the second one coming with eight minutes remaining in the third (assisted by Ashtyn Dokuchie).
Goalie Shanleigh Fryer earned the shutout in the 2-0 win.
Game 3 was another low-scoring duel—this time against the International Falls 10U girls.
Amy Penner (unassisted at 1:22 of the first period), scored the only goal of the game for Esso while Tessa Walls (from Jessica Hell) replied for the Falls.
The 1-1 tie earned Kaemingh the number-two playoff seed and a semi-final rematch with the Dryden Flames.
A giant defensive struggle ensued. After a scoreless first period, fireball forward Claire Sandelovich pumped home an unassisted tally to give Esso a 1-0 lead at the second period break.
Dryden replied at 11:31 of the third period as Sydney Allen set up Allie Leclerc for the game-tying goal that produced overtime.
With a berth in the gold-medal final on the line, Calie Clendenning (from Jourdain) came through in the clutch—scoring with just 52 seconds remaining in the first overtime to earn Kaemingh Esso a berth in the championship game against the Dryden Ice Bergs.
In a classic contest that featured the top top teams of the tournament, the Ice Bergs, coached by former Muskie Brent Silander, rode the hot hands of the Gardiner girls while Esso countered with impressive team play.
Dryden hit the scoreboard first as Demi Gardiner scored at 9:41 of the opening period. But Myla Angus tied the score at 10:17 of the second as she took a pass from Carly Taggart and banged a rebound through the five-hole to make it 1-1.
The Ice Bergs went up 3-1 with a pair of late second-period goals off the sticks of Darra Zieroth and Mariah Gardiner.
Of note, the most incredible save seen all weekend also occurred in the second period as Mariah Gardiner one-timed a bullet from the low slot but Shanleigh Fryer made a lightning quick blocker save to rob Gardiner of a goal top shelf.
After a competitive first two periods, the third period exploded with Esso and Dryden combining for six goals.
With Esso killing off a penalty, Amy Penner rushed the puck down the left side, cut to the net, and skated through the crease—deking the goalie and flipping a back hand into the open net to cut the lead to 3-2.
Just seconds later, Penner (assisted by Carly Taggart) collected the puck in the Dryden zone and lobbed a high wrist shot that bounced through the pads to knot the game at 3-3.
Mariah Gardiner came right back to re-establish a 4-3 Dryden lead with 4:03 left, but Esso’s Sandelovich replied 42 seconds later—firing a hard shot from the left face-off circle (assisted by Cassandra Moffit) to tie the game again.
A pair of late markers by Demi Gardiner iced the win for the Bergs, however, who completed an undefeated tournament run with the 6-4 victory.
< *c>Pharmasave Wildcats
Pharmasave hit the ice for their first game Friday afternoon as they faced the eventual tournament champion Dryden Time Out Sport Bruins.
The Bruins counted one in the first period and one in the second to head to the final frame up 2-0.
A flurry of goals came in the third as Paige Ward (Courtney Easton and Jessica Rae) and Rae connected for the Wildcats while Dryden tallied five more to make the final 7-2 score for the Bruins.
Pharmasave squared off against the second Dryden club, the Calypso Eliminators, pm Friday night. Despite a solid outing from Jessica Badiuk, the offensive ran dry in a 4-0 Eliminator win.
Game 3 versus the Thunder Bay Avalanche saw the Wildcats offence get on track early as Nicole Beadle (Janel Barker) scored to make it 1-0 at the 8:38 mark of the first.
The Cats grabbed a 2-0 lead as Cassie McLellan made a beautiful individual rush—dashing the length of the ice and scoring a power-play marker (assisted by Rae) for a 2-0 lead after one period.
After the Avalanche cut the lead to 2-1 at the 9:59 mark of the second period, Pharmasave scored again.
Katrinna Wreggitt charged down the left side, cut to the net, and fired a hard shot right on goal. Shawnee Morrisseau then picked up the rebound and roofed a wrist shot trapper side for a 3-1 lead.
Thunder Bay answered back with a pair of late second-period markers to tie the game and then won it with only 3:44 left in the third on a goal by Kaitlyn Pavik.
Needing a win to qualify for the championship playoff round, the Wildcats responded with their best game of the tournament as Jessica Badiuk slammed the door on the Thunder Bay Sabres while Courtney Easton and McLellan provided all of the scoring in a 2-0 win.
The win clinched fourth spot and a semi-final game with the Dryden Bruins on Sunday morning.
The Bears proved hungry for goals and dispatched the Wildcats 6-1, with Cassie McLellan registering the home side’s lone goal.
The loss moved the Wildcats into a bronze medal-game rematch with the Thunder Bay Avalanche. After dropping a 4-3 decision to the Avalanche on Saturday, the Cats were on the prowl and played a standout game from start to finish, reversing fortunes and claiming a 4-2 win.
Goal scorers were Samantha Bell (Nicole Beadle) in the first, Beadle (from McLellan) and Morrisseau (from Wreggitt and Tressa Galusha) in the second, and then McLellan (assisted by Beadle and Wreggitt) in the third.
Thus ended a highly-entertaining and very well-organized weekend of girls’ hockey.
Rarely has a $10 admission investment paid such a great return!