The Fort Frances Bantam Leafs needed either two more goals or one less two-player crash.
Ava Miller scored 10 seconds into overtime to give the Minneapolis Storm a 3-2 win in the Leafs’ last game in the 15UB bracket at the St. Luke’s Icebreaker Invitational tournament in Duluth on Sunday.
Miller sprang free on a 2-on-0 breakaway after the beginning of the extra session led to an unfortunate series of events for Fort Frances.
“Jillian Calder lost the face-off and as Emily [Kaun] was trying to poke at the puck, [MacKenna] ‘Boo’ Watson happened to skate by and clipped her accidentally, and the two went down,” recounted Leafs’ coach Les Kaun.
“Ziggy [Skead] was able to make the first stop but she couldn’t get the second,” he noted.
All the goals in regulation time were scored in the second period.
Hannah DeGagne opened the scoring for the Leafs before the Storm roared back with two goals in 25 seconds.
But DeGagne tied it up with her second with just over 18 seconds left before intermission.
Following the loss, it was a waiting game for the Leafs to see if their 3-0-1 record would hold up for first place against the Storm, who were 2-1 and still had to play Sartell/Sauk Rapids—top-ranked U15 team in Minneapolis.
With three points for a regulation win and two for an overtime win, all the Leafs needed was to have Sauk Rapids beat the Storm in regulation or overtime to take first place overall.
Instead, it was the Storm coming through with a 3-2 triumph in sudden death—tying them in points with the Leafs.
When it came down to the goals for/against tie-breaker, the Storm claimed the title with a mark of +6 compared to the Leafs at +4.
Without one of their top scorers in Kendra Calder, out with a sprained MCL in her knee suffered during a tournament in Dryden, the Leafs pulled out a 4-2 win over Sauk Rapids.
Callie Loveday, DeGagne, Makenna Henttonen, and Jillian Calder were the goal scorers.
Goalie Kamryn Sandelovich, added to the roster due to the absence of Taylor Smith (personal), started the game before Skead took over halfway through in a pre-planned switch by Kaun.
The Leafs then blanked Minnetonka Black 2-0.
Alex Gartzke’s power-play goal with 9:40 left in the second period was the game-winner.
But it also ended the tournament for Gartzke, who she pulled a muscle when a Minnetonka player fell on her as she followed through on her shot.
“That was a big loss for us,” admitted Kaun, whose team was reduced to basically playing two lines the rest of the way.
Pasquel Shortreed netted the other Leafs’ goal while Sandelovich earned the shutout.
The Leafs once again overcame penalty trouble in a 2-1 win over Wayzata Blue.
Second-period markers by Henttonen and Brenna Weir were enough despite the Leafs giving up their only power-play goal of the tournament—and just the second surrendered all season—late in the third on what was the sixth-straight man-advantage for Wayzata.
Kaun saluted the work of Taylor Turcotte, who he said stepped up her game, while also lauding Tori Sheppard for switching from forward to defence to help fill a void there.
The Leafs next head to Kenora this weekend for a tournament.