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Express White claim silver, Royals nab bronze

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The Emo Express White unfortunately ran out of steam.

The Volunteer Pool Bearcats (Thunder Bay) scored a pair of second-period goals that made the difference in a 7-4 win in the final of the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association's annual PeeWee 'A' tournament Sunday at the Ice For Kids Arena.

Cayden Kuoppa-Aho opened the scoring for the Bearcats 2:15 into the first period as he fired one past Express White goalie Colby Taylor from the left side.

Marcus Taylor-Dore douled the lead just under two minutes later as he buried an unassisted tally.

But Blake Kreger finally gave the Express White some life as he sprung free on a breakaway before deking and firing his first of the game past Bearcats' goalie Liam Crago with just under six minutes to go.

Alexzander Kreger then knotted it up less than a minute later from close-range.

But the Bearcats got a pair of tallies from Kaz Kitchener and Nathan Vita before the frame was complete to forge ahead 4-2 after 12 minutes of play.

Early in the second, Blake Kreger brought Emo back within a goal as he fooled Crago with a slapshot from a bad angle on the left side for his second of the day.

Ophelia Lucas-Engberg then knotted it at 4-4 with a low wristshot on a power play with just under eight minutes to go.

Striking back, Carson Malette and Kuoppa-Aho both tallied to put the Bearcats back up by a pair after 24 minutes.

Zachary Erickson then capped the scoring with 7:10 to go in the third as he soared down the ice on a shorthanded breakaway and made good to lift Volunteer Pool to the gold medal.

The Express White opened tourney play on Friday morning with a 6-2 win over the Fort Frances Times Tigers before dispatching the Fort Frances Boston Pizza Royals 6-4 that afternoon.

Then after doubling the West End Bruins (Thunder Bay) 6-3 on Saturday morning, Emo ended preliminary play with a 4-4 tie against the Dryden Whalers that afternoon.

The Express White then downed the North End Flames (Thunder Bay) in the Sunday morning semifinals to earn their berth in the Gold-Medal game.

In the Bronze-Medal final on Sunday morning, meanwhile, the Royals got goals from four different skaters en route to a 4-1 win over the Flames.

Ziigwan Smith opened the scoring for the Royals with 4:47 to go in the first period as he wired a shot home from the right side past Flames' goalie Diego Rapso.

After Roland Kruchak potted the Flames' lone goal to tie it in the second period, Racin Witherspoon snapped a shot home with just under seven minutes to go in the third to put Fort Frances back ahead.

Peyton Cousineau then deked through the Flames' defence and roofed a backhander before Cale Bouvier salted the game away with an empty-netter with six seconds to go to round out the scoring.

David Morrison earned the win between the pipes for the Royals, making the saves needed when called upon.

The Royals had opened tourney play on Friday morning with a 5-2 win over the Whalers before falling to the Express White that afternoon.

But Fort Frances rebounded with a 3-3 tie against the Times Tigers on Saturday afternoon before dumping the Bruins 3-2 later that day.

The Royals then were bounced in the semis on Sunday morning by the Bearcats, which dropped them into the Bronze-Medal final.

Up next, the Fort Frances Bantam 'AA' Canadians will host their annual home tournament this Friday-Sunday at the Memorial Sports Centre.

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