Missed chances cost Muskie girls in Winnipeg

With the arsenal of offensive weapons Muskie girls’ head coach Struchan Gilson has at his disposal, there’s no question the team will get its share of scoring chances this season.
But they’ll have to convert more of those chances if they hope to be successful.
In fact, while the black-and-gold won the third-place game at a tournament in Winnipeg last weekend with a narrow 1-0 victory over the Kenora Broncos, they very easily could have been playing for the championship.
Several good–if not great–scoring chances were missed in their final two games there, and that ultimately cost them a possible tournament title.
Against Kenora, the score could have been much higher. Laureen Cousineau, the team’s leading scorer from a year ago, banged one off the far post in the first half.
She later had a glorious chance to increase the Muskies’ lead with an indirect free kick from just six yards out but her shot was stopped by the Kenora keeper.
Chrissie Thomson, another one of the team’s better scorers, had a great chance herself on a penalty kick but also missed
So instead of being up 3-0 going into the second half against a very strong wind, the Muskies led just 1-0 on a goal by Tanya Hughes.
Then the Broncos appeared to have tied the game in the second half on an indirect free kick that beat Muskie keeper Amy Shute between the legs but the goal was disallowed because the ball had not been touched twice.
Gilson felt Kenora should never have been in the position to tie the game anyway.
The failure to convert scoring chances had carried over from the Muskies’ 3-1 loss to the Oak Park Raiders earlier Saturday.
After Susie Grynol opened the scoring early in the game, racing down the right side and drilling a shot past the Raider keeper, the Muskies took the play to Oak Park but could not score another goal.
Again, several good chances could not be finished off. In fact, they had two great chances in a five-minute span when Cousineau, usually automatic in these situations, missed a pair of penalty kicks.
“It’s better that we miss those now rather than later,” said an upbeat Gilson. “If we would have capitalized on some of those chances, I really thought we should have won the second game.
Instead, Oak Park scored three unanswered goals to earn the win.
“We had our chances,” Gilson said. “At times, I thought we moved the ball well and I saw some good things.”
The girls had opened play Friday with a 2-0 win over River East on goals by Cousineau and Karma Chudobiak.
Still, despite the missed opportunities against Oak Park and Kenora, Gilson said he was elated with his team’s effort and feels with a little bit of fine-tuning, it may blossom into another formidable unit.
“Defensively, we did a lot of things well with our new system,” he remarked. “We worked on some things and we had a chance to play our rookies.”
Gilson said he was particularly impressed with the defensive play of Lynn Pollard, whom he felt played a good “aggressive” game of getting to the ball and making contact with the opposition.
“She played super. She wasn’t afraid to use her hips,” he enthused. “She’s not the fastest player on two feet but she played tremendously well.”
On the down side, he noted the team suffered “significant” injuries to Erin McIvor (hamstring) and Sarah Vanderplaats (back).
“I’m glad we’re so deep and that’s the advantage of having depth,” he admitted. “You find a way to work around injuries.”
The girls’ team also returns to action this weekend when they host a tournament here. They open action Friday at 10 a.m. against Rainy River and then play Thomas Aquinas (Kenora) at 2:30 p.m.
Then they face Beaver Brae on Saturday at 9 a.m. before closing out action against Sioux Lookout at 4:30 p.m.