Muskie girls tops at home tourney

Lucas Punkari

With the advantage of the crowd and home ice on their side, the Muskie girls’ hockey team proved to be unstoppable at the Ice For Kids Arena over the weekend.
The black-and-gold captured their home tournament for the third time in seven years—the most by any school—after a 3-2 win over the Kenora Broncos in the gold-medal game yesterday afternoon.
“It’s a great way to start the season,” new head coach Scott Clendenning enthused following the title game.
“The girls battled all weekend long and it was a tough game today.
“I give the upmost credit to Kenora,” he added. “They’ve got a great team, they move the puck well, and they really challenged us today.”
Ericka Tymkin, Shae-Lynn Smith, and Amy Penner all scored for the Muskies in the final while goalie Dana Cridland withstood a barrage from the Broncos’ shooters during the last few minutes.
“Those final minutes were quite nerve-racking, especially with so many people in front of my net and there was a lot on my shoulders to help hold the lead with it only being a one goal game,” Cridland noted.
“It feels so good to finally get that tournament title back as we haven’t won the tournament in forever [their last tournament win was in 2008].
“And this is also a huge confidence booster for the rest of the year,” she stressed.
The Muskies were a perfect 4-0 during the round-robin portion of the tournament, opening with a 4-2 win over Kenora on Friday afternoon before blanking the PCI Portage Saints 3-0 that evening.
Then they finished off with convincing 8-2 and 6-0 wins over the Red Lake Rams and St. John’s Ravenscourt, respectively, on Saturday.
Grade 9 goalie Calie Clendenning stymied the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints in the semi-finals yesterday morning as the black-and-gold punched their ticket to the final with a 2-0 triumph.
“All of our games weren’t perfect and they weren’t always full of energy, but the girls continued to battle,” Clendenning stressed.
“Even in today’s championship game, the girls didn’t quit out there and the result is the win,” he added.
St. Thomas Aquinas bounced back from its semi-final setback to beat Red Lake 5-1 in the bronze-medal game.
Caitlyn Williams led the Saints on offence with a pair of goals.
Next up for the Muskie girls will be a tournament in Winnipeg this weekend.
Then they’ll visit Thief River Falls, Mn. for an exhibition game Nov. 11 before opening the NorWOSSA campaign against the Dryden Eagles the following night.