Taggs earn fourth tourney title

The local Taggs ‘AA’ Bantam hockey team beat out 18 squads at the Steel City International ‘AAB’ tournament held in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. over the weekend.
This was the team’s fourth tourney championship this season while extending their winning streak to 26 games.
Taggs captured the championship with a 4-2 victory over the Blueliners Blackhawks in the final.
Taggs opened scoring in the first period when D.J. Bombay netted one at 12:03. Matt DePiero then staked Fort Frances to a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
But the Blackhawks battled back, getting on the scoreboard at 11:43 of the second before knotting the score at 2-2 a minute later.
A determined Taggs came out in the third ready for victory, however. Joe Basaraba notched the go-ahead goal at 8:36 before Mitch Cain added an insurance tally just over a minute later.
T.J. Pocock earned the victory between the pipes.
Taggs had opened play last Thursday with an easy 7-0 victory against S&T Lightning.
The squad jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Patrick Bobczynski and Zach McCool, who later was named the game’s MVP.
Cody McCool and Basaraba each scored in the second period before Cain added a pair of tallies before intermission to make the score 6-0.
Cain then completed his hat trick with the lone goal of the third.
Taggs next went up against the Maple Leaf Motors—and jumped on the scoreboard first on Blake Wepruk’s goal at 8:56 of the opening period.
The Maple Leafs came back to tie the score before the game’s MVP, Patrick Bobczynski, posted one with 90 seconds left in the period to regain the lead.
Cain then scored just 30 seconds later to make it 3-1.
The second period proved to be no contest for Taggs as Cody McCool, Zach McCool, and Wepruk all tallied to put the team up 6-1.
The Leafs drew within three with a pair of goals in the third, but Cody McCool notched his second of the game to seal the 7-3 win.
Cody McCool was the game MVP in Taggs’ third contest against the Keweenaw Storm, netting a pair of power-play goals in the first period to stake his team to the early 2-0 lead.
Ryan Shortreed then capped the first-period scoring.
The Storm notched the lone goal of the second period to make it 3-1 heading into the third.
After McCool completed his hat trick at 10:31 of the third, the Storm closed to within 4-2 with 9:16 to play. But Zach McCool regained Taggs’ three-goal lead a minute later before Cain rounded out the scoring at 6:54 to make the final 6-2.
Next, Taggs found themselves up against a team from a little bit closer to home—the Thunder Bay Beavers. And a little familiarity seemed to get the boys going as they cruised to a 9-1 triumph.
Bobczynski and Wepruk netted first-period goals before Cain notched one at 13:50 of the second to make it 3-0.
The Beavers spoiled Brady Caul’s shutout bid at 12:54 of the second, but it was all Taggs after that. DePiero, the game’s MVP, sealed the deal with a pair of goals.
Mike Jourdain, Cain, and Bobczynski all scored third-period goals to give Taggs a berth in the semi-finals against the Westfort Maroons (Thunder Bay).
And it was another easy victory for Taggs in that one as they dumped the Maroons 10-4.
After Basaraba had given Taggs a 1-0 lead, Westfort tied the score at 4:44 of the first. But just two minutes later, Cody McCool put Taggs ahead for good.
Zach McCool and Josh Scott hit the twine in the second to make it 4-1 before Westfort closed to within two at 10:15. But Zach McCool, Bobczynski, and Scott (his second) all scored to break the game wide open.
Wepruk and Cody McCool (two) added third-period goals to seal the win.
Taggs next will be in Fargo, N.D. for a tournament Jan. 20-22.

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