Connor Nelson netted the eventual game-winner early in the second period last night as the Muskie boys’ hockey team earned a 3-1 win over the Sioux Lookout Warriors in the opener of their best-of-three NorWOSSA final at the Ice For Kids Arena.
Ben Forbes opened the scoring for the second-place Warriors with 9:40 left in the first period when he found some room in front of the Muskies’ net before snapping one past Darian Klem.
It was more bad news for the top-ranked Muskies later in the frame as they lost forward Brady Bodnarchuk to an upper-body injury.
But the black-and-gold stormed back with a pair of markers early in the second.
Mikel Ward took the puck to the Warriors’ net and although his initial shot was stopped, Peyton Avis was right there to bang the rebound past Jayden Marshall to knot it at 1-1.
Nelson then gave the Muskies their first lead a few shifts later when he took a pass from Sheldon Kelly in the Warriors’ zone and promptly fired it through Marshall’s legs.
The visitors had a great chance to tie it later in the frame when a Warriors’ player fed a crisp pass out to a teammate in the slot from the corner but Klem sprawled out and denied it with a beauty of a save.
Carson Noga and Jake Barker then had a great chance to put the Muskies ahead by two as they broke out on a 2-on-0, but Marshall showed off his athleticism and kept the puck out.
After some sustained pressure from the Warriors led to the Muskies icing the puck, Sioux Lookout called a time-out with 1:39 to go in the third and opted to pull Marshall for an extra-attacker in an attempt to force overtime.
That plan failed as Cole Magill fired an empty-netter from the red line with 25.7 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Klem made 29 saves to earn the win while Marshall turned aside 40 shots in taking the loss.
Game 2 is set for tomorrow night in Sioux Lookout.
Game 3 (if necessary) would be back here on Sunday at 4:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.