Muskie boys clinch OFSAA berth Girls’ final going to third game

It was a battle right down to the final minutes, but the Muskie boys’ hockey team clinched its fifth-consecutive berth at the all-Ontarios yesterday afternoon, downing the host Dryden Eagles 3-1 to sweep the best-of-three NorWOSSA final.
Captain Ryan Witherspoon opened the scoring with a power-play goal midway through the second period but Dryden answered back to tie the score at 1-1 to end the second.
Then with just four minutes left in regulation time, Matt Back fired home the game-winner. Witherspoon added an empty-netter in the dying seconds to ice the victory.
The Muskies built a 3-1 lead after two periods in the series opener here Friday night before exploding for six third-period goals en route to a 9-2 win.
Joe Basaraba made an auspicious debut for the black-and-gold in that one, netting a pair of goals and adding two assists in his first game back after sitting out several months with a knee injury.
Muskie marksmen also included Mike McCaig, Blake Wepruk, Taylor Jorgenson, Zach McCool, Cody McCool, Kevin Bobczynski, and Beck.
The team now prepares for the all-Ontario showdown, which will be held in Ottawa the first week in April.
On the girls’ side, the Muskies fell victim to a relentless Kenora attack last night as the Broncos tripped up the visiting Muskies 5-2 to force a third-and-deciding game in the NorWOSSA final.
Reagan Smith (with two), Kelsey Craven, Linnea Vaudry, and Julie Cain scored for the Broncos while Nina Bird (from Miranda Kellar and Haven Labbe) and Lauren Krukoski (Bird) replied for the Muskies.
Last night’s high-scoring affair was in sharp contrast to the series opener here Friday, when the Muskies staged a dramatic 3-2 overtime win in 76 minutes of hard-fought hockey.
Bird got the winner—knocking down a Bronco clearing pass and unleashing a high, hard wrist shot over Kenora goalie Amanda Kowalik to clinch Game 1.
The goal was Bird’s second of the game. Carlee Bosma had the other Muskie tally while Nicole Riediger netted both Bronco goals.
Game 3 of the series goes tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m. at the ’52 Canadians Arena, with the winner advancing to the all-Ontarios on April 2-4 in Pembroke.