The Fort Frances ‘AA’ Midget Canadians will face the Fort William Canadians in a best-of-three playoff series this weekend in Atikokan.
The first game goes Friday at 7 p.m. (EST), with game two Saturday at noon (EST). A third game, if necessary, would be played later Saturday.
“The key to the series will be to get out to a good start,” noted Fort Frances coach Dave Allison. “It will be very important for us to play even or ahead in the first period.”
Allison said the team, which has lost just eight games this season, has come a long way since first hitting the ice last fall. In fact, while the Canadians have a strong balance of goal scorers, they also have begun to tidy things up in their own zone.
And that play in their defensive zone may be the key in the series.
The Canadians are led offensively by forwards Josh Baxter, Jeff Savage, Josh McAndrew, and Steve Niskala, all four of whom are in double figures in goal scoring.
Add to the mix team captain Boomer Redford, an offensive-minded defenceman, and the Canadians should not have much trouble scoring this weekend.
In goal, the Canadians feature a formidable tandem in former Muskie Adrian Indian and Nathan Svoboda. Both have played well this season, with Indian named the most valuable goalie at a recent tournament in Brandon, Man.
“I think we’ve got an array of forwards that are capable of scoring and I think we have gotten better defensively as time has gone on,” said Allison.
“I just think we’ve gotten a lot more support from the forwards helping out down low and the defence protecting the front of the net,” he added.
Allison noted they have adopted more of a team concept in the defensive end, with all the players on the ice making a “commitment to helping each other out in [their] zone.”
It’s that hard work which has produced a lot of “Ws” in the win column for the Canadians, who are winding done a very successful first season at the ‘AA’ Midget level.
After the playoff series with Fort William, the Canadians will wrap up their season at the Assiniboine Park Rangers tournament in Winnipeg in early April.