Muskie boys clinch berth to all-Ontarios

The 2007-08 season has been quite a ride for the Muskie boys’ hockey team.
Through 46 games to date, they’ve compiled a 36-10 record, including a gaudy 15-1 mark in NorWOSSA regular-season and playoff action.
The black-and-gold certainly wasted little time last weekend dispatching the Dryden Eagles in a two-game sweep of the NorWOSSA final to grab the squad’s fifth-straight berth to the 20-team OFSAA tournament in Ottawa next month.
The Eagles were a determined bunch Sunday afternoon in Dryden, keeping the Muskies off the score sheet until the five-minute mark of the second period.
That’s when team captain Ryan Witherspoon struck for his fourth goal of the playoffs, assisted by alternate captains Taylor Jorgenson and Mike McCaig, to stake Fort High to a 1-0 lead.
The advantage was short-lived, however, as Dryden’s Aaron Lane took a feed from Adam Bryk and tied the game with eight minutes left in the second period.
The score remained tied until Muskie forward Matt Beck took the pressure off—putting the visitors up 2-1 with just 4:17 to go in regulation time. Blake Wepruk drew the assist.
The game hung in the balance until Witherspoon, assisted by Jorgenson and George Halverson, slipped in an empty-net goal in the dying seconds to seal the 3-1 victory and OFSAA berth.
In the series-opener here Friday night, the Muskies fell behind late in the first period as Dryden captain Brendan Church set up Jay Tremonti with 1:23 remaining to send the visitors to the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
That lead evaporated quickly in the second, though, as the Muskies netted three unanswered goals.
McCaig tied the score just 2:14 into the period, with assists to Jorgenson and Matt McLellan. Then Wepruk, with helpers from McClellan and Jorgenson, made it 2-1 at 14:45.
Just three minutes later, Joe Basaraba got loose inside the Dryden line and dashed in to roof a hard wrist shot for a 3-1 lead, assisted by Kevin Bobczynski and Cody McCool.
The third period was a potent display of the Muskies’ scoring prowess as the home side lit the lamp six more times to ice a 9-2 win.
Jorgenson picked up his third point of the night as Halverson set him up to increase the lead to 4-1.
Dryden closed the gap to 4-2 when Ryan Lobreau sent Church down the left side, who made a spectacular move to beat a Muskie defender and sneak a shot past Dave Moen.
From that point, the Muskie scoring juggernaut hit full stride as Basaraba, Zach McCool, Kevin Bobczynski, Beck, and Cody McCool all notched third-period markers.
The Muskies now have a month to prepare for the all-Ontarios in Ottawa. To help keep the rust off, the squad is planning several exhibition games against high-calibre teams.
The first will be held this Saturday (March 8) at 3 p.m. at the Ice for Kids Arena against the Thunder Bay ‘AAA’ Midget Kings.
Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students.