The Fort Frances Canadians went 2-2 at the Shattuck St. Mary’s Sabres’ tournament last weekend in Faribault, Mn.
The Canadians followed a distinct pattern over the course of the tourney, winning both games in which they got on the scoreboard first while dropping the two in which they fell behind early.
Canadians’ head coach Dave Egan was pleased with his team’s overall performance, but could not explain the slow starts that have plagued the squad so far this season.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “When you play the American teams, they don’t wait. It’s go, go, go right from the drop of the puck.
“I think we’re just going to have to learn that you can’t relax during your first two or three shifts, otherwise you’ll be behind,” he added.
“We’ll get it figured out.”
But while the early deficits remain a concern, Egan was impressed by the potential the Canadians displayed in their two wins.
“I think it’s starting to show what we are capable of doing and I think as the boys get more and more of a taste of that, I think things are really going to come together,” he remarked.
Egan was particularly impressed with the play of goalie Justin Pryde during the tournament, noting the young netminder as a key factor in the team’s two victories.
“I have give acknowledgement and credit to our goaltender Justin Pryde,” he said. “He was phenomenal, just phenomenal, all weekend long.”
Here’s a recap of the Canadians’ action from the weekend:
< *c>Canadians vs.
< *c>Chicago Flames
The Canadians got off to an ideal start Friday evening, jumping out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-2 win over the Chicago Flames in their tournament opener.
“We came out in the first part of the game and we skated from start to finish, and that’s something we haven’t been able to do,” said Egan.
“Finally we put it together and, as a result, it gave us a good outcome.”
Dayton Brown gave the Canadians a 1-0 lead with a power-play marker 4:43 into the opening period, assisted by Tyler Harris and Matt Beck.
Then five minutes into the second period, Jared Baker converted a Logan Allen pass to give his team a 2-0 lead.
After Beck gave the Canadians a three-goal lead at 2:22 of the third (assisted by Harris), the Flames stormed back with two goals in two minutes to make it 3-2.
But Justin Scott sealed the victory with a goal late in the period.
< *c>Canadians vs.
< *c>Hyland Hills 1
The Canadians then faced the Hyland Hills Jaguars of Colorado in their second tournament game Saturday afternoon.
The Jaguars built a comfortable 6-2 lead through two penalty-filled periods before the referee stopped the game early in the third following an ugly incident.
Irv Lockman collided with Jaguars’ goalie Sam Zarat, who took matters into his own hands and went after the Fort Frances player.
When the dust settled, Zarat was assessed a game misconduct for fighting while Lockman was given a game misconduct for allegedly using a racial slur.
“It wasn’t a real rough game, but it just got to the point where the referee thought, ‘Well, best we call it,’” Egan said of the referee’s decision to stop the contest.
He also was quick to defend Lockman, saying, “I know what he said and to me it’s not racial.”
Lockman was forced to miss the Canadians’ next tournament game but will not face further punishment as a result of the incident.
The Jaguars roared out to a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the first period courtesy of goals by Curtis Smith, Scott Faulkner, and Nick Calson.
The Canadians cut into the deficit before the end of the period when Jared Baker took a Kyle Herr pass and beat Zarat to make it 3-1.
The Jaguars added to their lead with a pair of early second-period goals by Josh Sharp and Erich Seufert.
Logan Allen cut the Jaguar lead to 5-2 (Ryan Shortreed collected the assist), but Calson’s second goal of the game restored the four-goal advantage.
< *c>Canadians vs.
< *c>Fort William Canadians
Once again, a slow start doomed the Canadians in their game Saturday night versus the Fort William Canadians, who cruised to a 10-2 victory.
“We started out slow and before we knew it, it was 6-0,” Egan lamented. “We started to get things going, but unfortunately the game ended quick.
“If we played [Fort William] again, I think we would have a very good game with them, whether we won or not,” he added. “I think it would be a much better game.”
Fort William got first-period goals from Patrick Eisenbach, Taylor Hill, Chris Kovac, and Chirs Holomego (two) for an early 5-0 lead.
Holomego netted his third goal of the night before the Canadians finally got on the scoreboard courtesy of Josh Scott’s goal, assisted by Steve Beck.
But Alex Kranyak and Hayden Johnston scored before the end of the period to make it 8-1 through two.
Fort Frances cut the lead to 8-2 when Matt Beck scored early in the third period—assisted by Dayton Brown—but that would be as close as they’d get.
Kranyak and Steven St. Jean iced the victory with goals late in the game.
< *c>Canadians vs.
< *c>Fort William Hurricanes
The Canadians were looking for redemption Sunday morning following the blowout loss the night before.
The task would not be easy, however, as the Canadians were faced with another difficult challenge, this time in the form of the Fort William Hurricanes—the top team in Thunder Bay.
Yet the Canadians rose to the challenge and edged the Hurricanes 5-4 in a shootout.
“It was a very exciting game,” Egan remarked. “Any time you play the Fort William Hurricanes, it’s a tough game. It’s a real battle along the boards.”
“They are a pretty rugged team, there’s a lot of aggressiveness,” Egan added. “Our boys withstood that and were able to tie it up, put it into the overtime, and ended up with the shootout win.”
The Canadians grabbed the early 1-0 lead when an Irv Lockman took a feed from Kyle Herr and beat goalie Spencer Malone midway throught the first period.
The Hurricanes drew even roughly six minutes later when Drew Childs scored, but the Canadians regained their one-goal advantage in the second period when Ashe Woosley scored.
Matt Beck and Dayton Brown drew the assists.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Childs scored his second goal of the contest less than two minutes later to make the score 2-2.
The Hurricanes then took the lead for the first time with 4:34 left in the second period as Mark Black beat Pryde.
Fort William appeared to put the game out of reach early in the third when Smith scored on a pass from Childs to put the Hurricanes up 4-2.
But Canadians’ defenceman Andrew Maki gave his team new life, scoring with 7:58 to play to cut the deficit to 4-3. Tyler Harris earned the assist.
Matt Beck then completed the comeback with just under four minutes to go with an unassisted goal.
Overtime settled nothing and it was off to a shoot-out.
George Ossachuk shot first for the Canadians following a Pryde save, and he made no mistake beating Malone to give his team a one-goal lead in the best-of-three format.
After Pryde made his second big save, Herr had a chance to seal the victory with a goal. Herr beat Malone, but could not beat the post as the puck stayed out of the net.
The pressure fell squarely on Pryde’s shoulders and he did not disappoint—stopping his third-successive shot to earn his team the comeback victory.