The Muskie boys’ hockey team displayed an exceptional flair for the dramatic in Dryden over the weekend.
David Chambers followed his second-period goal with the lone tally of the shootout to lift the black-and-gold to a 2-1 victory over the St. John’s-Ravenscourt Eagles (Winnipeg) in the final of a pre-season tournament on Saturday.
In a rematch of their thrilling preliminary-round game, which saw Fort High prevail 6-5, the Muskies and Eagles battled through a scoreless first period before Chambers broke the ice at 5:09 of the middle frame on a set-up from Jeff Davis.
St. John’s-Ravenscourt refused to go quietly, though, and netted the equalizer when Ethan Patrick zipped the puck past Muskie goalie Devin Stromness with 4:55 to go in regulation time.
The ensuing four-on-four overtime period saw the Muskies with plenty of chances to put the game away, but being unable to light the lamp behind the Eagles’ netminder.
That led to the shootout, which opened with Stromness stoning Reid Winter.
Chambers then made his opportunity count to put the Muskies ahead.
Matt Ainley was stymied by Stromness, but Muskie captain Jamie Kaun couldn’t clinch the title with his turn in the shootout.
That left it in the hands of Parker Schween to prolong the excitement, but the Eagles’ assistant captain was denied by Stromness—touching off a full-bench celebration on the Fort Frances side.
The Muskies had opened the tournament Friday with a 2-2 draw against the Kenora Broncos.
The black-and-gold dominated the contest, outshooting the Broncos by a wide margin, but Kenora’s saving grace was goalie Bradin Senino, who stood on his head to keep his team in the game.
Fort High had the lone goal of the opening period when Kaun connecting at 2:59 on the power play assisted by Donovan Cousineau.
Brendan Cawston bumped the lead up 2-0 with 2:45 left in the second as Kaun picked up the lone assist on the play.
Muskie goalie Wes Brown pitched a shutout between the pipes until 24 seconds into the third, when Jordan Meyers hit the twine for Kenora.
The Muskies then tried to hold the fort down the stretch but Colt German beat Brown with just 2:38 to play.
Later Friday, Fort High squared off with St. John’s-Ravenscourt in a game the Muskies never trailed—but also never had locked up until the final buzzer.
Devin Ball and Brett McMahon scored 33 seconds apart in the opening five minutes of the first period to give the black-and-gold a quick 2-0 edge.
But the teams went to the dressing room all square after Ainley and Schween beat Stromness in a span of 2:21, with Schween’s tally coming with only seven seconds left on the clock.
The Muskies restored their two-goal advantage in the second with another lightning-fast double shot.
Cousineau popped his first of the tourney at 5:12, then came back for more 27 seconds later with another marker to make it 4-2.
Peter Logan cut the lead to one with 2:36 left in the middle session, but Nick Jourdain’s blast 18 seconds before intermission put the Muskies up 5-3.
The Eagles again drew within one at 6:06 of the third on a goal by Winter. But Cousineau completed his hat-trick goal 1:13 later, which turned out to be the winner after Schween collected his second of the affair with 3:52 to go.
Then facing a must-win scenario in order to qualify for the gold-medal game, the Muskies had the final say in the wild closing stages of a 3-1 victory over the host Dryden Eagles.
Chambers was the only marksman to score for either side through the first two frames as he sailed one past Dryden goalie Kim Wildhaber 1:35 into the second.
But the Eagles wouldn’t surrender and brought the home crowd to its feet with just 25 seconds left in regulation time as Sheldon Adams put the puck past Brown to even the game.
Dryden fans had their ecstatic cheers halted abruptly, however, when Cousineau sent the puck over to Ball off the ensuing face-off, whose shot eluded Wildhaber with 17.7 ticks still on the clock.
Cousineau then fired into the empty net with 3.9 seconds left for the insurance goal.
The Muskies next travel to Morden, Man. on Nov. 13-14 for their final pre-season tournament before opening the NorWOSSA regular season here Nov. 17 against Kenora.