Broncos sweep ‘Battle of Borderland’

While the Muskies have had little trouble with NorWOSSA opponents so far this season, they continue to have their share of woes against teams from south of the border.
The Muskies’ latest loss against their American counterparts was a tough 3-2 decision Monday night at the hands of host International Falls Broncos, who swept the annual “Battle of Borderland” series (they had beaten the black-and-gold here 3-1 last month).
The setback also dropped their record against Minnesota squads to a paltry 1-3.
It became clear very early Monday night that the Broncos were trying to exploit the Muskies’ lack of depth on the blueline–due to injuries–with long, breakaway-type passes.
But to their credit, the black-and-gold hung in there against the Falls even though they were playing with less than three full forward lines and just four defencemen.
In fact, they almost escaped with a win until the Broncos scored a pair of goals less than a minute apart in the third period.
“The American teams like to play a speed game, and I noticed the last two games, they’ve also tried to play more physical,” said defenceman Steve Baker, who scored his first goal of the season late in the first period Monday.
“We’ve been plagued with injuries, and at the end of the game you could feel [fatigue] a bit,” he added.
The Broncos opened the scoring just 52 seconds into the game when Mitch Lavern picked up a loose rebound and buried the puck past a sprawled Mike Glueheisen.
Baker tied the game at 1-1 with 2:33 left in the first with a long shot that beat Falls goalie Jayme Fisher, then Chris Kellar put the Muskies up by one with a power-play marker late in the second.
But then Andy Amenrud and Christopher Nagurski netted goals in the third period to give the Falls the 3-2 win.
Glueheisen was spectacular in goal for the Muskies–and was the main reason the Muskies held on to their slim lead heading into the third frame.
The Muskies will get another crack at the American counterparts next week when they play Mesabi East on Tuesday and then Austin, Mn. there Wednesday.