Unsure whether it was their last tournament of the season, the local Sunset Country Ford Atom ‘AA’ Mustangs had fun at the Elks 82s Classic in Thunder Bay last weekend.
They didn’t reach a ‘A’ or ‘B’ final—but it didn’t matter.
“On Saturday, we had more fun as a team and were never more together as a team,” said Mustangs head coach Mark McCaig, despite the team’s 2-1-1 record in round-robin play that left them just short of making the playoffs.
The team should know by next week whether they’ll head to Minneapolis for one last tourney in mid-April.
“If this was our last tournament, it was a great year,” said McCaig. “[The coaching staff] was happy with our play all season.”
The Mustangs had opened with a 2-1 loss to the Westfort Rangers of Thunder Bay (Kyle Herr got their lone goal) and a scoreless tie with the host Elks 82s.
They won their last two games—dumping the VP Bearcats 6-0 and blanking the Marathon Mercs 2-0—but failed to advanced based on their goals for total.
Herr (two), Dayton Brown, Matt Dipiero, Patrick Bobczynski, and Kyle Turgeon scored against the Bearcats while Jordan Davis and Brown netted markers in their game with the Mercs.
Goalie Ryan Faragher earned all three shutouts for the Mustangs.
Meanwhile, the Assiniboine Park Rangers International tournament in Winnipeg was the site of last hurrah for both the local Taggs ‘AA’ Bantams and KC ‘AA’ PeeWee teams.
The Knights fell behind early to the Wisconsin Fire in the final and never recovered, losing 4-0.
They had tied their first game 1-1 on Friday against the Dryden Apollos before reeling off three-straight wins over Winnipeg’s MacDonald Lightning 4-3, the Westfort Rangers 6-2, and the Kenora Thistles 3-0 to reach the final.
Josh Sigurdson led the team with six points (three goals/three assists) while Daniel Chapman added four points (two goals/two assists).
“I’m really happy with the results,” said KC head coach Tony Kadikoff. “We took it to the two teams [Westfort and Kenora] who beat us in the past.”
Kadikoff added the season was a complete success.
“The whole year exceeded my expectations. The way we ended up tournaments and the way everyone came together,” he enthused.
Meanwhile, Taggs finished their season with a 6-4 win over Morris St. Jean in their ‘B’ final. They had jumped out to a 4-0 lead on first-period goals by Justin Larson, Tanner Kaemingh, Jared Catholique-Bruyere, and Jamie Davis.
Morris got one back in the second, but Catholique-Bruyere completed his hat trick with a goal late in the second and another early in the third to ice the victory.
Taggs opened with a 3-2 loss to Thunder Bay rival Norwest Stars, getting goals from Scott Bridgeman and Davis, then got second-period goals from Dan McIntyre and Sean Councillor to salvage a 2-2 tie against the River East Marauders.
Taggs then rebounded with a 2-0 win over the Winnipeg Twins in the ‘B’ semi-finals on goals from Bryan Chambers and Davis.
Catholique-Bruyere led Taggs with six points (three goals/three assists), followed by Davis—playing his last tournament as a Bantam—with five (three goals/two assists).
Kaemingh and Larson each added three assists on the weekend.