Taggs goes 1-2 at Steinbach tourney

It may only have been the first tournament of the season, but Mark McCaig says it’s time for his troops to pick up the pace.
“A lot of the new guys have to get into a ‘AA’ state of mind,” said McCaig, who was behind the bench as the Fort Frances Taggs Bantam ‘AA’ squad went 1-2 at the Steinbach Millers Fall Classic last weekend.
“It’s tough because they’ve been used to playing house league the past couple of years,” he noted. “It was a learning experience, but I’m not really happy with how we played.
“The whole team didn’t compete hard consistently.”
In their opening 4-2 loss to Ile Des Chenes on Saturday morning, Taggs got a taste of what NHL playoff teams must have felt like trying to solve goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks last season.
Ile Des Chenes netminder Michel David put on a clinic—despite a cavalcade of Taggs shots during the contest—and was the rock his team needed to lean on while they searched for offence themselves.
“We were all over them but [David] was unbelievable,” raved McCaig. “He’s probably the best minor hockey goalie I’ve seen.”
Tyler Klassen opened the scoring for Ile Des Chenes at 1:02 of the second period, but Matt McLellan tied it up for Taggs at 10:46.
Then back came Ile Des Chenes, with David Henry finishing off a three-way set-up with 1:12 left in the period to put his side up 2-1.
Kyle Herr and Kyle Turgeon helped Brian Glavish even the score with 8:08 to go in regulation time.
But Ile Des Chenes captain Jeremy Prive, who had three points in the contest, collected the goal that decided Taggs’ fate with just 1:42 on the clock.
James O’Dowda added an empty-netter with two seconds to go.
Then the Dauphin Kings made Taggs feel like peasants in a 4-1 victory by the Manitoba squad later Saturday.
Jordan Smith, who led his team with three points, and Travis Prytula scored two minutes apart midway through the first period to put Dauphin up 2-0, before Andrew Easton gave Fort Frances a breath of life when he tallied with 29 seconds left in the opening frame.
But Kings’ goalie Kent Henry bolted the door shut against the Taggs’ offence the rest of the way while Prytula and Ryan Dreger scored in the second and third periods, respectively, to put the game away.
Winkler looked to completely ruin the weekend getaway for Fort Frances in their final game Sunday. But a big start—and a bigger finish—catapulted Taggs to a 7-3 triumph.
Jordan Davis, McLellan, and Riley Caul (the latter two 29 seconds apart) all scored in the first period for a 3-0 Fort Frances lead.
After Riley Unger gave brief hope to Winkler with the only goal of the second period at 12:09, Easton (who had four points in the game) and Caul quickly dissolved that plan with early third-period goals in a 19-second span.
The same two Taggs gunners connected again later in the third period, with Caul’s marker at 12:30 giving him the hat trick. Mark Reimer and captain Coltyn Reimer replied for Winkler.
Taggs now heads into its annual home tournament this weekend at the Memorial Sports Centre, with action going Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.