Sharks capture crown at home Atom ‘A’ tourney

Joey Payeur

The scent of blood lay upon the frozen water–the ideal scenario for a Shark attack.
The Gillons’ Sharks were ferocious predators when it counted most, scoring the last four goals of the game en route to a 7-2 win over the West End Bruins (Thunder Bay) in the final of the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association’s annual Atom ‘A’ tournament Sunday at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Annalise Hayes put Gillons’ on the path to their fifth victory without a loss in the tournament by opening the scoring in the first period.
After Kristopher Sirios evened the score later in the frame, Blake Jones put the Sharks back in front before Brett Kenny made it 3-1 for the home side before the period was out.
Jordan Lem, the tournament scoring leader with 13 points in five games, moved the Bruins to within striking distance in the second.
But it was all Sharks from then on.
Aiden Morrisseau, who was second behind Lem with nine goals and two assists for 11 points over the weekend, restored Gillons’ two-goal advantage to send the Sharks to the dressing room up 4-2.
In the third, Hayes continued her terrific weekend (tied for third in tournament scoring nine goals and an assist) with her second goal of the game.
Brody Joyce and Morrisseau, with his second, added extra insurance.
Gillons’ looked like a championship contender right out of the gate, blanking out the Atikokan Voyageurs 6-0 in their tourney opener Friday.
Hayes and Morrisseau tallied 1:47 apart in the first period, with Daymond Morrisseau scoring 56 seconds into the second to make it 3-0.
Aiden Morrisseau then netted his second, and followed Hayes’ second of the game in the final frame with his hat-trick goal.
Brandon Cole contributed three assists against Atikokan.
The Sharks then shut down the Thunder Bay Elks Bear Kings 4-1, connecting for all four of their goals in a span of 2:48 in the decisive second period.
Daymond and Aiden Morrisseau scored at 5:08 and 6:34, respectively, followed 30 seconds later by Hayes’ first of what ended up being two goals in 52 seconds.
Braxton Syposz spoiled the shutout at 5:08 of the third.
Getting out to a big lead worked well for Gillons’ in their final preliminary-round game—a 5-1 thumping of the Dryden Bruins to give the Sharks first place in Pool ‘A.’
Aiden Morrisseau and Kenny tallied within the first five minutes of the game before Hayes tacked on the lone goal of the second for a 3-0 Gillons’ edge.
Then in the third, Aiden Morrisseau notched his second goal of the game at 2:01, followed by Daymond Morrisseau at 7:25.
Bryce Hutchison thwarted another close attempt at a Sharks’ shutout with Dryden’s only goal at 11:17.
The victory put Gillons’ up against another Fort Frances squad, the Causeway Cougars, in the ‘A’-side semi-finals, which went the Sharks’ way by a 4-1 margin.
Cameron Bowles and Hayes scored 1:48 apart early in the first period before Causeway’s Cooper Witherspoon sliced the lead in half with the only goal of the second.
In the third, Daymond Morrisseau set up both Aiden Morrisseau and Hayes to round out the scoring.
Dangerous Cougars
The Cougars earned their spot in the semi-finals by topping Pool ‘C’ with a 2-0-1 record, launching its tourney run with a tight 2-1 triumph over the Emo Canucks.
Jacob Barker gave the Canucks the lead at 8:13 of the first and it looked like that goal might hold up as the score remained 1-0 after two periods.
But in the third, Witherspoon turned into a potent play-maker, setting up A.J. Kellar for the equalizer and then Logan Hamilton for the game-winner.
Causeway broke out to a 5-1 lead over Kenora’s Interior Decor Coyotes in their next game, but nearly let it all slip away before holding on for a 6-4 victory.
Witherspoon, Hunter Ottosson, and Kieran Weir each scored twice for the Cougars.
Jonathan Boucha netted in a pair for the Coyotes, with Jaden Favell and Liam Isfeld adding singles.
Causeway ended pool play with a 1-1 tie against the Kenora Legion Bruins.
Witherspoon’s marker at 3:55 of the first was the game’s only goal until Ben Woods salvaged the tie for Kenora at 10:13 of the third.
Bulldogs’ bark
The third Fort Frances team in the tourney, the MEC Bulldogs, had a howling good time early but then were left out in the cold after a 4-2 loss to West End in the other ‘A’-side semi-final.
Jordan Lem, who had a hat trick in the game, and Kristopher Sirios, cracked a 2-2 tie in the third period with the game-winning and insurance goals.
Ayden Sunstrum had both goals for MEC in the first period.
The Bulldogs had the rest of the field on notice after cleaning up in Pool ‘B’ to take top spot with a 3-0 record, outscoring the opposition 19-4.
First up was a 6-3 win over the Keewatin Flyers.
Connor Scholfield and Kobi Ward struck for a pair of goals apiece for MEC while Sunstrum and Matthew Hill also scored for the Bulldogs, who led 4-2 after two periods.
Jordan Brown (two) and Karson Holmstrom replied for Keewatin.
MEC then took no mercy on the Atikokan Voyageurs in their second game, scoring six unanswered goals from the second period to cruise to a 9-1 rout.
Scholfield had a hat trick in that one. Kobi Ward and Ben Smith had two goals each while Tyler Munro and Sunstrum notched singles.
Matthew Bazinet had the lone goal for Atikokan.
Scholfield attracted more headgear his way, this time with a hat trick spread over three periods in MEC’s 4-0 whitewash of the Bear Kings.
Sunstrum added the other Bulldogs’ marker.
Clutch Canucks
As for the Emo squad, a healthy dose of Medicine—Dakota Medicine, that is—was the difference in a 7-5 win over Keewatin in the ‘B’ final.
Medicine netted the first four markers of the game, then added an insurance marker in the third for his fifth of the contest.
Jacob Barker and Carter Robinson also scored for Emo.
Matthew Favreau and Brown each struck for a pair for the Flyers while Dominique Novelli added a single.
The victory was a sweet ending for a somewhat sour weekend for the Canucks, who went 0-2-1 in the preliminary round, including an 8-7 loss to Keewatin following their opening loss to Causeway.
The high-scoring affair saw Emo fall behind 2-0, 3-2, and 5-3 only to fight back to tie the game each time.
But a third-period hat trick by Brown, as part of his four-goal outing, did the Canucks in.
Favreau collected a hat trick and Bryson McDonald had the other Keewatin goal.
Barker was terrific in a losing cause, scoring four goals, while Gavin Sakchekapo, Maverick Smith, and Tyler Curtis had singles.
The Canucks showed more fortitude in their final preliminary game, rallying from a 3-1 deficit against the Kenora-based Coyotes to come away with a 3-3 tie.
Medicine, Barker, and Reece McQuaker had Emo’s goals while Gabriel Kowal (two) and Liam Isfeld replied for the Coyotes.
Then in the ‘B’-side semi-finals against the Bear Kings, Thunder Bay took the early lead 2:15 into the game on a goal by Bryce Foster.
But Sakchekapo wouldn’t let his team be denied, netting the tying goal at 8:57 of the opening period and then coming through for the shootout winner to give Emo the 2-1 victory.