Lightning take ‘C’ title


The Novice/Atom portion of the 11th-annual Fort Frances girls’ hockey tournament was held over the weekend, with eight Atom squads representing Fort Frances, International Falls, Dryden, and Thunder Bay attending.
Between them, the Fort Frances Rolling Lake Lightning and Fort Frances Esso took to the ice 10 times, with Rolling Lake grabbing the ‘C’ championship and Esso narrowly losing the consolation final.
After four very competitive games, Rolling Lake was primed and ready for the ‘C’ final Sunday morning in the ’52 Canadians Arena. A vocal crowd urged both the Lightning and Petrie’s Icecycles (Thunder Bay) into action and the two teams did not disappoint.
The Icecycles struck first, snapping up a loose puck in the crease area and whipping a low shot stick side past a prone Carly McKinnon.
Their lead was short-lived, however, as Rolling Lake defender Abby Plourde chipped a pass up the right side to Myla Angus, who snared the puck, blasted down the boards and through the middle, and then rifled a hard shot—five hole—to knot the contest at 1-1.
The second period produced no goals but great saves as McKinnon made a pair of huge stops from point-blank range to keep the Icecycles at bay.
With just a period to go and a championship within their grasp, the action became fast and furious as Rolling Lake applied unceasing pressure in pursuit of the go-ahead goal.
With 2:28 left, Angus picked the puck up in her own zone and neatly waltzed through the Icecycles on a pretty coast-to-coast rush. Her initial shot went wide, but she gathered the rebound and, in a flash, wrapped the puck around for a nifty goal and a 2-1 lead.
The pressure continued and the hard forecheck paid off as Emma Noga iced the victory for Rolling Lake, lacing a hard shot along the ice from 20 feet out for a 3-1 lead.
A buzzer-beater by the Iceycles made the final score 3-2 and sent the local Lightning home with the ‘C’-side hardware.
The Lightning opened play Friday against the Dryden Ice Bergs. In a back-and-fourth affair, both teams had great chances but few goals were scored.
Sydney Johnson set up Angus for the lone Lightning goal. At the other end, Marlene Napish-Keeash lit the lamp twice for the Ice Bergs while Megan Oscroft had the other in a 3-1 Dryden victory.
On Friday evening, Rolling Lake dropped the puck with the Thunder Bay Red Wings. A great battle ensued but Rolling Lake could not handle the Red Wings’ Gabrielle Gascoigne, who scored three-straight goals to lead the Wings to a 5-0 shutout.
The Lightning then had their first encounter with the Icecycles on Saturday morning and rode the hot hand of #88 Lindsay Dixon, who scored a pair of goals to ensure a 2-2 tie and guarantee a date with Dryden’s Guenther Flooring Flames for the right to play for the ‘C’ championship.
In that contest, the Flames burned up the ice in the first period, taking just 55 seconds to get on the board and stake themselves to a 1-0 lead. Rolling Lake answered back early in the second as Angus tied the game with an unassisted marker.
The Flames responded early in the third period to go up 2-1, and with time winding down, it looked like the Flames held the hot hand. Then the Lightning struck.
First, Harleigh Brow-Rose pumped a dramatic goal to knot the score at 2-2 with just 3:05 to play in the game. Then Noga, set up by Shannon Bird, swatted home the game-winner with just 78 seconds remaining—sending the crowd home happy and the Lightning to the ‘C’ final on Sunday morning.
Fort Frances Esso
Fort Frances Esso, meawhile, stepped on the gas early and often in their consolation final with the Dryden Guenther Flames, but goals were at premium and good luck was not always on their side.
With just nine skaters, the Esso defensive corps of Sara Jackson, Morgan Deschamps, and Madison Botsford was put to the test—and time and time again they repelled the Flames’ offensive attacks.
Goalie Marissa Loveday also was on her game, making several key stops including a huge lunging save with just over seven minutes left to maintain a scoreless tie.
But as overtime loomed, Jessica Carter made a nice move inside the Esso zone and unleashed a hard wrist shot that eluded Loveday and gave the Flames a very hard-fought 1-0 victory and the consolation crown.
Esso had begun action in the eight-team tourney with a showdown against the same Dryden Flames.
Avery King opened the scoring for Esso, assisted by Caitlan Visser, but the Flames answered back with two goals to take a 2-1 lead deep into the third period.
Then it was Esso forward Alysaa Alderson supplying some late-game heroics as she snapped home the tying goal with just 3:29 to go in regulation time. Moments later, though, Carter sent Dryden ahead, then netted her second of the game to ignite a 4-2 Flames’ win.
Esso took a break until Saturday morning when they laced them up against a very skilled under-10 squad from International Falls. The Falls’ gunners were relentless and despite the best efforts of Loveday and her teammates, the future Broncos simply could not be denied.
Abbey Auren led the Falls’ attack with four goals while Hannah Dahlin contributed a hat trick as the visitors earned a decisive victory.
Undaunted, the Esso squad grabbed a Tiger by the tail (more precisely the Thunder Bay Esso Tigers) on Saturday afternoon.
Confronting the Tigers was one thing, controlling them was another matter. And as luck would have it, the local squad ran into another prolific goal scorer, this time #18 Danielle Veneruzzo, who struck for five goals that carried her team to a shutout victory.
That night, the Esso girls took the ice to face the Thunder Bay Petrie Icecycles. In a well-played the game, the Icecycles rode the shutout netminding of Kayla Lindsay to a 5-0 win, sending Fort Frances Esso to the consolation final.