The first game action of the season can be unnerving for any team–and the Muskie girls’ hockey squad isn’t exempt from those feelings.
But any bouts of nervousness quickly faded away over the weekend as the black-and-gold compiled a 2-1 record at the annual Scott Clendenning Memorial Showcase at the Memorial Sports Centre.
It was a nice way for the Muskies to kick things off.
“For our first games together, I thought the team played really well,” enthused head coach Chris Sinclair, who is in his first year at the helm with the squad.
“Personally, I didn’t really know what to expect–from our team and from other teams, as well,” he admitted.
“These games were a great opportunity for us to see where we stood with teams in our league, as well as things that we as a team need to work on.
“With not much practice time, and a totally new team, we were looking at several things from the team,” Sinclair added.
“Gaining chemistry and team bonding, working on different systems, as well just getting any nerves or jitters out was one of the biggest keys going into the weekend, as well as staying positive with each other.”
The Muskies opened play on Friday night with an emphatic 19-1 rout of the Sioux Lookout Warriors at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
Jill Calder led the way with a five-goal performance while Reece McQuaker and Tatum Glowasky each tallied four times to pace the onslaught.
Then on Saturday morning, the black-and-gold face some stiff competition in the form of the Fort Frances Bantam ‘AA’ Canadians, who went on to win 5-0.
The Muskies originally were slated to play the Thunder Bay Fury but that team ended up not making the trip here.
Instead, the Canadians stepped up to fill the void and used two goals from Brandon Croswell to earn the victory.
The Canadians scored twice in both the first and second periods before capping the scoring in the third.
But the Muskies bounced back in a big way that afternoon in the “Showcase” finale by rolling to an 8-1 win over the Kenora Broncos.
The black-and-gold built a 2-0 lead by the second period before the Broncos finally capitalized on a 2-on-1 early in the frame.
Fort High then scored three goals in quick succession by end the period before Kathryn Fischer made it 6-1 early in third with a cannon of a shot.
McQuaker then tipped in a point shot before Kaun capped the scoring later in the stanza with a shot she banked in off the Broncos’ goalie from behind the net.
The black-and-gold next will be in action this Friday and Saturday when they head to Warroad, Mn. for a scrimmage tourney.
Then they’ll host the Broncos once again in the NorWOSSA regular-season opener on Tuesday (Nov. 13) at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
A time for that game has not been listed on the team’s website.
“We will be working on moving forward and getting better each day,” noted Sinclair. “We will be playing different teams and they will all be very good competition.
“Working on various systems especially will be a key focus for this weekend in Warroad.
“As a group, we are getting more and more excited for our first NorWOSSA [regular] season game,” he enthused.
“There was a lot of both nerves and excitement in the dressing room before the game on Friday night during the ‘Showcase,’ and those feelings are just getting bigger and bigger as we get closer to the start of the season,” Sinclair conceded.
“I have said it before, we are young and energized group and very excited to get the season underway.”
Sinclair also noted the Muskies believe several teams on the NorWOSSA circuit see them as just being an “average” squad this year.
“The girls are very anxious to prove them otherwise,” he remarked.