The Muskie boys’ hockey team fought back from a two-goal deficit to pull out a thrilling 4-3 win over the International Falls Broncos in the finale of their annual two-game “Border Battle” in front of a packed house at the Ice For Kids Arena on Tuesday night.
Over 700 fans packed the stands to watch the Muskies split the series at a game apiece against their border rivals.
The Broncos had claimed the opener by a 5-4 margin back on Dec. 20 in the Falls.
It was the Broncos who were in the driver’s seat early on into Tuesday’s game as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead into the early second period on goals by Jaxon Germain and Brenden Benike.
Josh Ward finally got the Muskies on the board with 9:38 to go as he finished off a feed from Nolan Mann past Broncos’ goalie Mitchell Nemec.
Then with just under six minutes left in the middle frame, Jace Jackson finished off the work of Jace Dittaro and Peyton Avis to knot it at 2-2.
Mikel Ward gave the Muskies their first lead of the night 3:28 into the third, with Dittaro and Jaxon Gartzke drawing assists on the play.
Nolan Mann then made it a two-goal cushion with just over five minutes to go as he finished off the rebound of Muskie captain Reed Bodnar’s shot, with Josh Ward earning the other assist on the play.
With time running out, the Broncos opted to pull Nemec for the extra-attacker while on a power play for a two-man advantage and it paid off handsomely as Brayden Dremmel fired one past Muskie goalie Jaden Cooper to trim it to 4-3 with 3:34 remaining.
But Cooper and the Muskies buckled down defensively from there to hold on for a hard-earned win.
As for the Muskie girls, they were in exhibition action on Monday afternoon as they took on the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association’s PeeWee ‘AA’ Canadians.
Muskie captain Jill Calder netted a hat trick as Fort High pulled out a spirited 9-7 win at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
Paiten Kinnear lit the lamp twice for the Muskies while Tatum Glowasky, Issy Taylor, Kianna Antonick and Hailey Bombay all also found the back of the net.
Ashton Armstrong scored twice for the Canadians in losing cause, while they also got goals from Hunter McLean, Marlee Bliss, Aiden Loerzel, Niko Ruppenstein and Grady Holden.
Jersey Masson nabbed the win in goal over Gage Mitchell.
The Muskie girls (5-1) next are in action tonight as they resume NorWOSSA play against the league-leading St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (7-0-0-1) in Kenora.
As for the boys’ squad, they’ll resume league play on Tuesday (Feb. 11) as they look to improve on their league-best 9-0 record against the visiting Sioux Lookout Warriors (2-6) at 7 p.m. at the ’52 Canadians Arena.