The Fort Frances Knights of Columbus hockey team staked their claim as one of the top PeeWee ‘AA’ outfits in the region this past weekend at the Tournament of Champions in Brandon, Man.
The Knights laid waste to the rest of the 10-team field, going undefeated in their six games—including a 9-1 thrashing of the Thunder Bay My Travel ‘AAA’ Kings in the final.
Their domination in the finale was so complete, in fact, it even caught head coach Wayne Strachan off guard.
“I was so surprised at the score,” he remarked. “I thought we could beat them but I didn’t think it would be 9-1.
“Certainly it was a whole team effort and not just one player dominating, or a handful of players,” he said, before adding, “It was all 16 guys contributing.”
A closer examination of the stats from the championship game only gives credence to Strachan’s statements. No fewer than seven different Knights combined to produce the nine-goal barrage.
The list included Ryan Windigo (who netted a hat trick), Donovan Cousineau, Brett McMahon, Colton Spicer, Bryce Knapp, Nick Jourdain, and Ryan Mosbeck.
The Fort Frances crew outshot their Thunder Bay counterparts by an astounding total of 44-11.
Perhaps the only person associated with the Knights who might have been unhappy with the team’s complete dominance was goalie Scott Parsons.
He may well have had the slowest afternoon of his life—facing only four shots through 40 minutes of play.
Parsons’ boredom notwithstanding, it was the perfect ending to what was a remarkably successful weekend.
“It was a big weekend, a big tournament for the boys,” Strachan said. “I know they were a little nervous going in there, without knowing a lot of the competition.”
However, the anxiety felt prior to their first game quickly disappeared once the puck was dropped.
The Knights opened action with a 6-1 win over the Lumsden-Bethune Lions, then followed that up with a 2-0 shutout of the Regina Sharks.
That shutout appeared to be a turning point of sorts for the Knights as they then pasted the Selkirk Fishermen 9-0 before wrapping up round-robin play with an 8-2 pounding of the Moose Mountain Wild.
“Our pool wasn’t the strongest,” Strachan conceded. “The stronger teams were in the other pool with Thunder Bay.
“But once we got to the semi-finals, our goal was to obviously win the tournament and play against Thunder Bay in the final.”
The Knights earned a 4-1 win over the Estevan Prairie Mines Royalty in the semi-finals before trouncing the Kings in the final.
“The boys were just focused all weekend and they played the best weekend of hockey that I’ve seen them put together all year,” enthused Strachan.
In addition to the team accolades, several Knights were deserving of individual recognition.
Cousineau was the tournament’s leading scorer with 18 points (seven goals/11 assists) in just six games. His impressive tournament was capped off with a five-point performance in the final.
Joining Cousineau among the top five tournament point-getters were defenceman Windigo and forward Jordan Larson.
Windigo finished tied for third in scoring with four goals and eight assists for 12 points.
The giant defender also was named the player of the game in the final against the Kings thanks to his four-point effort (three goals and an assist).
Larson matched Windigo’s 12-point tournament performance with five goals and seven assists of his own.
Between the pipes, Parsons finished as the tournament’s top goalie. He posted a 4-0 record with a 0.58 goals against average and a .958 save percentage.
Parsons numbers were only slightly better than teammate Mike Kennedy-Dault, who posted a 2-0 record with a 2.11 GAA and an identical .958 save percentage.