The true test of the successful time-out in hockey is how the team whose coach called for the break responds coming out of the group huddle.
In that case, the Fort Frances Boston Pizza Royals PeeWee ‘AA’ squad made their coach, Ed Vold, look like a genius.
Having given up what could have been the winning goal with less than seven minutes left in regulation time yesterday, Vold told his troops to keep the faith.
Tyler VanUden took the speech to heart, notching the equalizer late in the third and then striking again at 2:51 of overtime to give the Royals a 4-3 win over the Dryden Paper Kings in the gold-medal game of their annual home tournament.
VanUden swatted in a loose puck with 2:07 left in the third to provide hope for the home side.
He then chased down a clearing pass in the neutral zone and cashed in on a breakaway to touch off a wild celebration on the Royals’ bench and in the stands.
“He’s a sharpshooter and a heck of a goal scorer,” Vold said of VanUden.
“Whenever he picks up the puck with the game on the line, we feel pretty confident we’re going to win.”
Graeme Kitt also had a pair of goals and added an assist for the Royals, with Dylan Ossachuk earning the win between the pipes.
Troy Williams, Trey Palermo, and Keith Wrolstad scored for Dryden.
The victory capped a 5-0 run through the tourney by the host Royals, but was an anomaly in a weekend where the squad dominated every other game they played.
Fort Frances blasted the Thunder Bay Elks 8-2 and the Sioux Lookout Junior Flyers 6-1 on Friday, then finished the preliminary round Saturday with a 6-0 shutout versus International Falls.
That meant a semi-final match-up with the Elks, which the Royals won 5-0 that propelled them into Sunday’s gold-medal game.
The Royals’ next tournament runs Jan. 28-30 in Warroad, Mn.