For the first time in the 13-year history of the Fort Frances Girls Hockey Novice and Atom tournament, a host squad has captured the Atom crown.
The Rolling Lake Lightning accomplished the feat Sunday afternoon at the Ice For Kids Arena by blanking the Emo Penguins 4-0 in the final.
“It feels pretty good to win, especially since no one else has ever won it here from Fort Frances,” noted Lightning forward Annalise Hayes, who led the way with a hat trick in the final.
Maighyn DeGagne had the other goal for the Lightning while goalie Ziggy Skead turned aside every shot that came her way to earn the shutout.
“She was steady all weekend long, but she really stepped it up for the finals,” Lightning coach Pat Langtry lauded.
“Our entire defence was just unreal all weekend, especially in our last two games, and they were also a big part in helping us get the win,” he added.
Over in the other dressing room, Penguins’ head coach Keith Cates was proud of his team’s effort despite coming out on the losing end.
“I still think we played pretty darn well,” he remarked.
“The girls skated hard all weekend long, and as a team we can’t really fault anybody.
“They’ve come a long way,” Cates added.
The third-place game in the Atom division also saw a local team skate away victorious as Kaemingh Esso nipped the International Falls 10U Broncos 1-0.
Madison Morrison notched the lone goal in the third period.
“After our second game in the round-robin, we were a little bit worried at how things were looking,” Esso coach Travis Weir admitted.
“Then we lost a real heartbreaker to the Falls in our third game, so it came down to the final game [against the Kenora Sharks] to see if we would make the playoffs, and thank goodness we won it because here we are now,” he reasoned.
Next door at the ‘52 Canadians Arena, the Fort Frances Timbits had a chance to give local teams a clean sweep of the weekend but they came out on the losing end of a 5-2 decision to the Kenora Red Rockets in the Novice final Sunday.
“The kids played great,” Timbits’ coach Darwin Woods said afterwards.
“They had fun and they worked hard, and that’s the main thing we’ve wanted to see from them during the year,” he added.
Jamie Steel scored both Timbits’ goals while Chloe Skead had a hat trick to spark the Red Rockets to the title.
“We were really excited to play a team we don’t normally go up against,” Rockets’ coach Jessica Rheault said.
“My girls started out really well, and we were able to score some quick goals that helped us maintain the lead and eventually get the win,” she noted.