Muskie hockey teams earn split with Saints


It was a night of mixed results for the Muskie boys’ and girls’ hockey teams on Tuesday against the visiting St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora).
The boys’ squad outlasted the Saints in a 5-4 victory at the Ice For Kids Arena that improved their NorWOSSA record to 5-2.
Matt Spence opened the scoring for the Muskies just over midway through the first period when he buried a feed from call-up Darnell Kempf.
Jaxon Gartzke then skated down the wing after a face-off win and fired home his first-ever goal with the black-and-gold to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes.
The Saints trimmed it to 2-1 just under three minutes into the second with a deflected shot that beat Muskie goalie Jaden Cooper.
Cole Magill regained the Muskies’ two-goal cushion when he picked up the puck on the sideboards and skated into the slot before firing one home with 12:35 to go in the frame.
The Saints then scored back-to-back goals within the last five minutes of the second to knot it at 3-3.
Peyton Avis put the hosts back on top just 1:14 into the third when he undressed the Saints’ defence before burying the puck in their net.
Spence then found Brady Bodnarchuk with a pass out front and he made no mistake in bulging the twine to push it to 5-3 just over a minute later.
After Kempf was knocked down, the Saints retrieved the puck and beat Cooper to make it a one-goal game with 4:22 to go.
But that’s as close as St. Thomas Aquinas would get as Cooper stood tall to preserve the win.
As for the Muskies girls, they came up just short in a thrilling 6-5 loss to the visiting Saints at the ’52 Canadians Arena to see their league record fall to 2-3-0-1.
It also was the black-and-gold’s annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game.
Chloe Skead opened the scoring for the Saints (6-1) early in the first period when she snapped one past Muskie goalie Isabella Fortes.
Alex Gartzke then pounced on the loose puck in a goalmouth scramble and poked it home to knot it at 1-1 with 12:45 left in the frame–sending teddy bears raining down to the ice.
Mariah White then dangled around the Muskie defence before firing a shot past Fortes to put the Saints up 2-1 just 29 seconds later.
Rebecca Machura then blasted a slapshot by Fortes to put the visitors up by two after 20 minutes.
Paiten Kinnear trimmed it to 3-2 just 1:20 into the second but Skead netted her second of the game with a shot off the post and in on a feed from Chelsea Henderson to regain the two-goal cushion.
Savanah McGinnis got one back for the Muskies later in the period but White then fired home her second of the night with 1:05 left to make it 5-3 after 40 minutes.
Issy Taylor was able to poke in a puck from the left side of Saints’ goalie Sarah From on a man advantage to trim it to 5-4 with 5:34 to go in the third.
But a miscue by the Muskie defence led to Skead notching another goal to make it 6-4 with 2:24 remaining.
Abbie Kenny lifted a rebound over From to make it a one-goal game with 30 seconds left but that’s as close as the Muskies got.
The Muskie girls now enter their holiday break and don’t resume play until the Loop Weekend tournament set for Jan. 4-6 in Thunder Bay.
The boys’ squad, meanwhile, are back in action tomorrow night when they head to International Falls to face the Broncos in the first of their annual two-game “Border Battle” exhibition series.