Muskie girls blanked by Eagles

Don’t judge a book by its cover—or, at least, don’t judge a game by its final score.
The Muskie girls’ hockey team (0-6) skated hard, had its chances, and even laid a couple of decent, if somewhat illegal, body checks on the Dryden Eagles during their NorWOSSA clash there Friday night.
In the end, Dryden blanked the Muskies 7-0, but the game provided more hope for assistant coach Allan Barr that the squad is headed in the right direction.
“We did a lot of good things, and implemented a lot of things we’ve been practising,” said Barr. “We’re not measuring our successes on the scoreboard, but in our own improvement.
“The first period, we had 20 minutes of hard work and were right there with them,” he noted. “We had some slight mental breakdowns early in the second, but the girls did a good job of getting their heads back into it.
“I think we won the second half of the second period.”
Barr pointed to some defensive zone panic, and an unusually undisciplined night in regards to staying out of the sin bin, as his team’s downfall in Dryden.
“Once in a while, we get a little excited and start running around in our own end a little bit,” said Barr. “Penalties were a problem [Friday], too. It was a tightly-called game.”
The Eagles scored two identical goals to grab the lead after the opening period.
Niki Kruger got loose in front of the Muskie net and knocked in a pass from the corner by Sarah Montgomery to put Dryden on the board at 9:57.
Then at 16:36, Keri Anderson worked herself free in front and tipped home a Joanna Lappage feed past Muskie goalie Megan Bob for a 2-0 advantage.
Brittany Bembenick started an Eagles’ spurt of three goals in six minutes early in the second period when her slapshot glanced off Bob’s catching glove and dribbled into the net at 1:36.
Carly Brown then shook off the check of Muskie Katie McTavish and converted another pass from behind the net to make it 4-0 at 4:23—and send Bob to the bench in favour of Kim Pacarenuk.
“They got two quick ones and we wanted to change things up,” Barr said about the goaltending switch.
Pacarenuk turned aside a breakaway opportunity on the very first shot she faced. But Brittany Kamm put the finishing touches on a three-way passing play involving Kasey Haw and Anderson, who had four points in the game, to make at 5-0 at 7:36 of the second.
The Muskies held Dryden at bay until Brown netted her second goal of the game at 7:25 of the third, then Anderson slipped behind three Muskie defenders to accept a pass from Kamm and flip it past Pacarenuk to close out the scoring.
Melissa MacDonald was steady when called upon in the Dryden net to earn the shutout—the second-straight for the Eagles over the Muskies after a 3-0 win up there Nov. 14.
The Muskies also got a scare late in the game when captain and top-line centre Tara Lloyd went down with a knee injury. She hobbled off and was icing her leg after the game, but Barr said he didn’t expect she would miss any playing time.
Up next, the Muskies will pack their suitcases and head to Blaine, Mn. for the 82-team Minnesota Girls Holiday Cup tournament running this Thursday through Saturday, which the squad performed well at last year.
The team will be in the Orange Division of the Varsity category of the tournament, grouped with Long Prairie-Wadena-Deer Creek, St. Bernard’s, Moose Lake, Andover, and Fond DuLac-Waupun.
The Muskies kick off action Thursday at 4:45 p.m. against Long Prairie-Wadena-Deer Creek, then battle St. Bernard’s at 6:15 p.m. on Friday.
Preliminary round action for the black-and-gold then continues Saturday at 6:15 p.m. against Andover.
Muskie fans can follow the team’s progress at the tournament by going to, and clicking on the Girls’ Holiday Cup link.
The black-and-gold return to NorWOSSA action Jan. 7 here against the Dryden Eagles.