The battle may have gone the way of the Dryden Eagles.
But the war is a long way from over.
The Muskie girls’ hockey team fell 3-2 to Dryden here last night in the NorWOSSA regular-season finale for both squads.
Head coach Scott Clendenning was steamed over two controversial goals that helped Dryden (12-0) sweep the three-game regular-season series against the Muskies (9-3).
But Clendenning kept his comments based around the message he think his team sent last night.
“It’s going to be a good playoff run,” he vowed.
“The girls showed up tonight and they’ve got Dryden thinking now,” he added.
“If they think they’re going to walk all over people . . . we can’t wait for the final.”
Muskie captain Amy Penner’s face told the story of her team’s frustration with the outcome.
“Everyone’s down in the room right now,” said Penner, who had two assists in the loss.
“Mainly because it’s our last league game and it sucks to have to lose to Dryden, especially at home.”
Dryden matched the black-and-gold’s undefeated regular-season accomplishment of a year ago, although the Eagles played three less games to do so with the absence of the Red Lake Rams.
Their animated celebration on Fort High’s own ice, and the route they took to get there, has the Muskies counting the days until an expected rematch in the NorWOSSA final.
With the hosts up 2-1 after one, Liv Carter tied the game with her second goal of the game by banging home a loose puck which Muskie goalie Calie Clendenning appeared to have covered up.
Then in the third, Rachel Getson was credited with the eventual game-winner despite sticking out her leg in what seemed like a distinct kicking motion to redirect the puck into the net.
“Both those goals were 100 percent questionable,” fumed Calie Clendenning.
“It’s not soccer, it’s hockey.
“On the second one, I didn’t communicate very well with the defence,” she admitted. “But I think I had it [the puck]. I was sitting on it.
“The referee has to blow it down quicker than that.”
Rachel Jean had opened the scoring early in the first with a long floater from the point that went over the shoulder of Eagles’ goalie Jacquie Grandmont.
The Eagles had a golden chance to tie it a few minutes later when Kaily Greengrass dragged down Elizabeth Carter from behind on a short-handed breakaway, which resulted in a penalty shot.
Clendenning didn’t get fooled by the Eagle forward’s deke, however, getting her trapper down to steer the puck wide.
But Dryden tied it just before the mid-point of the first with a short-handed goal by Liv Carter.
Taylor Croswell put the home side back in front three minutes before intermission, crashing the net and shovelling the puck home after Penner was stopped on her rebound try of Sam McKinnon’s point shot.
The Muskies now will prepare for their best-of-three NorWOSSA semi-final showdown against the third-place St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora).
Game 1 goes Tuesday at 7:15 at the Ice for Kids Arena.
Fort High won all three league games against the Saints this season by a combined score of 15-2.
“We’ve just got to come in with the attitude to do our best,” said Penner.
“We’ve just got to keep going and we’ll be fine.”
Game 2 is set for next Friday (Feb. 20) in Kenora, with Game 3 (if necessary) back here Feb. 22.