Muskie boys golden at Dryden tourney

Dan Falloon

Talk about starting off on the right foot.
The Fort High Muskies boys’ hockey team had a fine limb to stand on, posting a 4-0 record en route to a gold medal at the Dryden Eagles’ tournament over the weekend, culminating with a 4-1 win over the Kenora Broncos.
The tournament was the black-and-gold’s first action of the season, and they were up to the task, dispatching the Red Lake Rams 5-1 and then St. John’s-Ravenscourt 4-3 in round-robin play.
Fort High then found themselves up against SJR again in the semis, where they blitzed the Eagles 5-2 to advance to the final.
Once there, the Muskies grinded down the Kenora Broncos in a sturdy 4-1 win.
In that game, Davis Ross opened the scoring, while Colton Spicer, Brett McMahon and Robbie Rea also notched goals.
The semifinal against SJR saw Brendan Cawston contribute a pair, while Nolan Ross, McMahon and Rea tallied singles.
In round robin play, Nik Jourdain, McMahon, Tyson McLean and Ryan Lundy all found the net against Red Lake.
Meanwhile, Jeff Davis led the way in the group-play win over the Eagles, notching a pair.
Rea and Jourdain also contributed markers in the win.
Fort High played up to snuff despite being a bit shorthanded, as four players were missing because of prior commitments to other school teams.
With goaltender Scott Parsons in Winnipeg for a volleyball tournament, Devin Stromness defended the net for all four games, drawing praise from coach Shawn Jourdain for his fine weekend.
In fact, Jourdain was pleased with the entire roster that came out, especially with the rookies playing their first games in Muskie colours.
Newcomers Davis Ross, Nolan Ross, Ryan Lundy and Robbie Rea all hit the scoresheet over the weekend.
“I was very impressed with our younger guys, our new guys,” enthused Jourdain.
“They stepped in and they played well, and they played hard all weekend.
“I know they got along well with the older guys,” he added.
“I think we have a good squad and we’re going to have a lot of fun this year.”
In terms of old leadership taking the reins, coach Jourdain was particularly impressed by the line of Cawston, Jourdain and Kaun.
Cawston and Jourdain each had five points on the weekend to lead the team.
“As far as our vets go, Cawston and Nik Jourdain and Nick Kaun, that line just got us going every day by dumping it in and getting speed on them,” recalled coach Jourdain.
Jeff Davis’ four points also came in quite handy.
Jourdain was particularly impressed with his team’s ability to keep the pressure on late in games, breaking down the opposition and emerging with the victory.
“It’s a staple of our hockey team where we just keep working hard and going hard at teams,” stressed Jourdain.
“In the third period, we just wear other teams down by running four lines and jumping them over the bench and going at teams.
“We just seem to wear other teams down in third periods with a lot of hard work,” he concluded.
Jourdain noted that he didn’t notice any major flaws with the lineup over the weekend, but will work to make a few tweaks before the Muskies skate in a tournament in Morden, Man. on Nov. 19 and 20.
Fort High will open the regular season in Dryden on Nov. 23.
“We had a good weekend, but we’ll just try to get better from there,” said Jourdain.
“It’s just basically a bunch of little things we need to work on overall.
“As far as the big picture goes, the forechecking and all that was okay, it’s just the little things we’ll work on in practice that we’ll get better at,” he concluded.
The other issue is one that affects all other teams in the season—just getting up to game speed in preparation for a long year.
“It’s the same things every year,” noted Jourdain.
“A matter of being able to think that quickly is the tough part.”
One value that’s instilled in every Muskie, though, and needs no correcting, is that of hard work.
“One thing we can never say is they don’t work hard. They always work hard,” stressed Jourdain.