Knights flawless in Robin’s title run

In the spirit of the tournament sponsor, T.J. Pocock concluded a wonderful weekend by feeding a great big doughnut to the Volunteer Pool Bearcats (Thunder Bay).
Pocock took every thing the Bearcats could throw at him—and more—as he backstopped the Fort Frances K of C Knights PeeWee ‘AA’ team to a 2-0 victory Sunday afternoon in the 12 ‘AA’ division final of the Robin’s Donuts Minor Hockey Classic in Thunder Bay.
The Knights have been no stranger to success—having won all four tournaments they’ve entered this season.
But in what is Northwestern Ontario’s largest minor hockey tournament, with 108 teams involved this year, the championship win in the Robin’s Donuts Classic will be something the Knights can look back on fondly for years to come.
A restless Fort Frances squad, which had to wait until 7:30 p.m. to play the final in their only game of the day, put that pent-up energy to good use as they grabbed control of the game right from the outset against the Bearcats, the top-ranked team in their house league.
Bearcats’ goalie Robert Hay matched Pocock save for save through the first period, but the Knights finally broke through with two goals in 85 seconds in the second to give themselves a lead they would not relinquish.
Jordan Sinclair, who had missed a large chunk of the season with a broken collarbone, made his first goal of the season one to treasure. He dove to the ice to knock a backhander past Hay at 4:04, assisted by Blake Wepruk, for the all-important 1-0 lead.
Then at 5:29, Mitch Cain cleanly won a face-off in the Bearcats’ zone back to Josh Scott, who leaned into a one-timer Hay didn’t even move on.
The triumph left the Knights a perfect 6-0 at the tournament, which started for them on Thursday with a 3-1 win over the Elks 82s (Thunder Bay).
The Knights trailed 1-0 entering the third when Patrick Bobczynski went to work. First, his screen shot found the mark to tie the contest, then he set up Cain for the game-winner minutes later.
Cody McCool added an insurance marker with just over a minute to play.
Pocock earned the win in goal (the Elks goal scorer was not available at press time).
The Knights doubled the Dryden Appollos 6-3 in their second game, with Zach McCool leading the way with a pair of goals. Cain, Wepruk, Cody McCool, and Scott added singles, with Pocock again getting the win between the pipes.
Adam Boone, Eli Napish, and Jay Tremonti replied for Dryden.
The Westfort Rangers (Thunder Bay) were next on the Knights’ hit list as Fort Frances got a shutout performance from back-up goalie Brady Caul en route to an easy 6-0 victory.
Bobczynski had four points, including a pair of goals, to spark Fort Frances. Zach McCool, Joe Basaraba, Cain, and Luke Judson added singles.
The Knights’ offence rolled like thunder once again in a 9-1 drubbing of the KC Sabres (Thunder Bay). Zach McCool was outstanding with a seven-point effort, including three goals, while Cain contributed with a natural hat trick.
Scott, Nathan Calder, and Cody McCool had the others for Fort Frances while Taylor Kohar ruined Caul’s shutout bid with a goal midway through the third.
The Marathon Mercs provided worthy opposition in the semi-finals but with only nine skaters, they could not maintain the pace the entire way as the Knights carved out a 4-1 victory.
Matt DePiero lit the lamp twice for Fort Frances while Zach McCool and Cain added a goal apiece. Rachelle Savard was the only Mercs marksman to beat Pocock.
The Knights will look to make it five championships in five tries when they host their own annual tournament this weekend, looking to capture the title for the first time in recent memory against teams from Dryden, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, Baudette, Thunder Bay, and Winnipeg.
Fort Frances will play all three of its round-robin games in the Ice for Kids Arena, starting with a rematch against the Bearcats this Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday will see them challenge Roblin Park (Winnipeg) at 12:30 p.m., before squaring off against Dryden at 5 p.m.
The ‘B’ final is slated for 12:45 p.m. on Sunday, immediately followed by the ‘A’ final at 2:15 p.m.. Both games are set for the Ice for Kids Arena.