Edwards optimistic on team’s chances

The Muskie hockey team has been finalized after a series of intense try-outs that saw a record number of hopefuls strap on the blades.
And the variety of options in selecting the team has left head coach Glen Edwards optimistic about his team’s chances this season.
“We’re a lot stronger this year, and bigger on defence,” he said last week after making the final cuts. “I think we have a team that can compete realistically for the NorWOSSA championship.”
Some 64 players tried out for a team with only 23 roster spots available. And the final cuts proved to difficult for the longtime Muskie coach.
“I had to cut kids we didn’t really want to cut,” he remarked. “Other years, [some of the players cut] would have made the team.”
The Muskies—the all-Ontario champs in the 2000-01 season—will be looking to erase the bad memory of a quarter-final sweep at the hands of the Dryden Eagles in the NorWOSSA playoffs this past winter.
“We’re quite excited about the team this year,” said Edwards. “We have a lot more skill and talent than we did last year.”
Edwards is hoping rookies such as centre David Pierce and Justin Larson will be able to gel with returning players to form the core of a winning squad.
“We have four strong lines,” he said. “We are also going to carry eight defencemen.”
Edwards characterized the team as having a good “balanced attack” which certainly will be needed with their upcoming schedule.
“I think we are going to get some more scoring this year,” he noted. “Terry Kellar, Eric Mosbeck, [and] Greg Flewelling should all be able to put more pucks in the net this year.”
Of course, although the team is strong, there will be more than a few hurdles to overcome.
“Our biggest challenge will probably come against the American teams,” said Edwards. “Teams like International Falls and Baudette. They have above-average teams.”
But, as usual, the black-and-gold will have to concentrate on their own league opponents in order to win the NorWOSSA title again.
“Dryden is usually our main focus,” said Edwards.
The season gets underway with a home-and-home series against Pelican Falls, which begins here Nov. 8. Then Dryden will be in town Nov. 12 for their first meeting since this past winter’s quarter-finals.
Other highlights include a trip over the border to face International Falls on Nov. 26 and one to Winnipeg over the Christmas holidays for a tournament starting Dec. 27.