Muskie girls’ rink bound for OFSAA
Hailey Beaudry and her rinkmates weren’t about to let the Muskie hockey teams have all the fun.
Beaudry skipped the team of third Nicole Hartlin, second Erin Tomalty, and co-leads Tory and Anika Beaudry to the gold medal at the NWOSSAA championship in Chapleau on Monday, finishing the round-robin event on top with a 4-0 record.
“The girls are thrilled, just head over heels,” enthused Muskie curling coach Ron Silver.
“They curled really strong,” he added. “Hailey was wonderful with her shot-calling and leadership.
“They had some tough times . . . but they all kept their eyes on the prize.”
Both Muskie rinks had to deal with early adversity after a last-minute schedule change saw their opening game, originally scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (local time) on Sunday bumped up to 4 p.m.
Departing here at 4 a.m. that day led to the teams getting to Chapleau with just 15 minutes to spare before they had to hit the ice.
To top it off, the first foe for Beaudry was Sioux Lookout, who had beaten the Muskies 5-1 to claim NorWOSSA gold the previous week.
The back-and-forth game went to an extra end. But with hammer, Beaudry was perfect with her draw weight to score one and claim a crucial 6-5 win over what Fort High knew was likely to be its toughest challenger.
Then on Monday, the Muskies clipped Superior Collegiate & Vocational Institute (Thunder Bay) 7-3 before clobbering Manitouwadge 13-0.
Knowing a win would clinch the title, Beaudry’s rink then survived a 9-7 shootout against a combined team from Nipigon and Red Rock to ensure Fort High would send its first team to the OFSAA championships since Tirzah Keffer led the girls’ team to the provincials in 2010.
“I think Hailey and the girls can do quite well at OFSAA,” said Silver.
“They’re peaking at the right time.
“Traditionally, Muskie teams have done very well at OFSAA, although I have no idea what kind of competition they will be facing there,” he admitted.
The seedings and schedule for the 20-team OFSAA showdown likely will be announced by week’s end.
As for the Muskie boys, the news wasn’t golden. But the locals recovered from a rough start in Chapleau to bring home the bronze medal with a 12-2 rout of Ecole catholique secondaire Trillium (Chapleau) in their final game Monday.
“We’re quite happy with bronze,” Silver said about the team of skip Reece Jones, third Chris Silver, second Kurt McGuire, and co-leads Jason Bazylewski and Davis Jackson.
“They’ve come a long way this year,” he noted. “In the end, they’re better than every team that finished behind them.
“With a couple of Grade 9s on the team getting valuable experience and with everyone else returning, we’re in a way better position to win gold next year,” Silver added.
The Muskie boys lost their opener 7-3 to Red Lake on Sunday in a game Silver said wasn’t as bad as the score indicated.
“Red Lake got back-to-back deuces in the last two ends to open up,” he noted.
Fort High bounced back for a 12-0 shutout of Chapleau High School to start play Monday, then followed that with a 6-1 trouncing of St. Ignatius (Thunder Bay).
But a shot at matching the girls’ success went out the window with a 9-2 loss to Westgate Collegiate & Vocational Institute (Thunder Bay).
“It was 3-2 for Westgate at the break, but then we had one bad end and it was too tough to come back from,” Silver recalled.
“In both losses for the boys, it was the same story,” he noted. “Just one bad end that cost us.”