Muskie boys swipe pair against Rams


The Muskie boys’ hockey team improved their NorWOSSA record to 9-2 after nabbing back-to-back wins against the visiting Red Lake Rams on Saturday and Sunday at “The Duke” (Couchiching Arena).
Jake Barker scored twice to pace the Muskies to a 9-2 romp yesterday afternoon.
It didn’t take long for the Muskies to pour it on as Connor Nelson opened the scoring just 1:15 into the first period when he fired a wrist shot from the point top shelf into the Rams’ net.
Jaxon Gartzke doubled the lead when he capitalized on a friendly bounce off the end boards.
Barker then notched his first marker of the night when he buried the rebound of Ashton Cousineau’s shot from the left side to make it 3-0.
After Red Lake finally got on the board later in the period, Peyton Avis fired a pass from the corner to Barker in the slot, who made no mistake short side to regain the Muskies’ three-goal cushion.
Jace Jackson tallied early in the second stanza before Mikel Ward sprung loose on a breakaway and buried one to push the lead to 6-1.
Matt Spence then made it 7-1 shortly afterwards.
But it wasn’t all good news in the frame as a Rams’ player inadvertently collided with Muskie goalie Darian Klem late in the frame, knocking both players to the ice.
Klem, who was visibly hurting and had to be helped off the ice, was replaced in goal by Jaden Cooper.
Barker had a great chance to complete a hat trick early in the third after he was hauled down from behind on a breakaway, but his slapshot attempt on the ensuing penalty shot was stopped.
Red Lake eventually trimmed it to 7-2 but Cole Magill and Cousineau tallied later in the frame to cap the scoring.
It was much of the same for the Muskies on Saturday night as they cruised to a 10-1 thumping of the Rams.
Nelson and Sheldon Kelly each scored twice in that one while Gartzke, Cousineau, Nick Gurski, Austin Armstrong, and Spence added singles.
The Muskies went into the weekend fresh off a narrow 6-5 win over the host Dryden Eagles on Thursday night.
Armstrong opened the scoring 7:38 into the first period off a feed from Jackson, but the Eagles struck back later in the frame off the stick of Ben Silander to knot it at 1-1.
Barker then regained the lead with 3:30 left in the frame to make it 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Spence and Avis tallied back-to-back early in the second period before Barker notched his second of the game to push it to 5-1 just past the five-minute mark.
But the wheels started to fall off for the Muskies in the third as the Eagles started their comeback attempt.
Dryden struck quickly within the first five minutes of the final frame as they got a trio of tallies from captain Jacob Lugli, Karson Bibeau, and Nathan Ho to cut the gap to 5-4.
Kohl Wrolstad then knotted it at 5-5 with 5:15 left to go as Dryden climbed all the way back.
But Ward broke the deadlock with 2:28 left in regulation time to help the Muskies escape with the two points.
As for the Muskie girls, they suffered a 6-2 setback to the host Eagles on Thursday night to see their NorWOSSA record fall to 5-6-0-1.
Abbie Kenny and Issy Taylor scored second-period goals to pace the Muskies’ offence.
The squad is back in action tonight in International Falls when they face the Broncos in the finale of their annual two-game “Border Battle” exhibition series.
The boys’ squad, meanwhile, breaks for exams before resuming action next Thursday (Jan. 31) when it welcomes the Broncos for the finale of their “Border Battle” series at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.