During the early stages of the NorWOSSA season, the Muskie boys’ hockey team has had trouble cashing in on their scoring chances in front of the net despite having outshot their opponents by a wide margin.
However, if this weekend’s play at the Victoria Inn tournament in Brandon, Man. is any indication, the Muskie snipers may have started to begin to fire more accurately.
Despite being blanked 3-0 by Selkirk in the ‘B’-side final Sunday, Fort High regularly hit the twine in their other four games over the weekend, with many different players contributing to the cause.
“Overall, I thought we played pretty good all weekend long and we were very solid,” said assistant coach Brad Gushulak, who was in charge behind the bench during the tournament in place of head coach Shawn Jourdain.
“Our last game against Selkirk was probably the most physical game that we have had all year long, and we ended up getting away from our game a little bit there and ended up running around a little bit,” he noted.
“But still, I’m pleased with how things went.”
The Muskies finished the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 1-1 record in Pool ‘A.’
After opening with a 6-2 win over Vincent Massey on Thursday, a 5-4 setback to Stonewall on Friday dropped the black-and-gold down to the ‘B’-side bracket and a playoff match-up with their NorWOSSA rivals from Kenora.
“To be honest, it’s kind of tough when you go all that way for a tournament and you end up facing someone in your league again as you would like to go against some teams that you haven’t faced before,” Gushulak reasoned.
Nevertheless, the Muskies skated away with a 3-0 win over the Broncos, with goalie Scott Parsons stopping every shot that came his way.
The black-and-gold then beat St. John’s Ravenscourt 5-1 in the ‘B’-side semi-finals on Saturday evening, setting the stage for their battle with Selkrik in the final.
“In the first period against St. John’s, both sides were losing their cool a little bit over the refereeing,” Gushulak recalled.
“During the intermission, we settled our guys down, and from then on we were able to take it to a pretty good team,” he added.
While Gushulak said the entire roster contributed to the cause in Brandon, a few performances stood out in his mind.
“We put together a line with Nick Kaun, Braden Webb, and Cole Godbout that worked quite well as they were able to get a couple of big goals for us,” he noted.
“Also, you had guys like Ryan Windigo and Braedon Keast, who had a couple of real solid games for us and helped us out in a lot of ways.”
The performance in Brandon came on the heels of a 3-2 overtime win against the Dryden Eagles in NorWOSSA action here last Tuesday (Nov. 29).
Tarran Romyn netted the game-winning goal with just 14.5 seconds left in the extra frame.
“I’m not the one who is supposed to be scoring those types of goals,” laughed Romyn, a Grade 12 defenceman.
“I just picked up the puck from my teammate [Webb] and took advantage of the situation,” he noted. “And once you get into the zone, time just starts to stand still.
“Most teams know that I take the shot, but this time I thought I would try something a little bit different, and I gave the defender a toe drag and I went to my backhand,” Romyn recalled.
“We didn’t think he had those kind of hands, but we will take it,” Gushulak said.
The Muskies peppered the Eagles’ net throughout the game, outshooting their rivals by an eye-popping 55-13 margin.
But as noted, the black-and-gold has had a tough time capitalizing on their chances.
“It’s extremely frustrating, especially when you don’t allow the other team to have that many chances,” Gushulak remarked.
“We will be spending some time in the practices on our 3-on-2 rushes in order to get some better shots on those chances, and we will go from there.”
Tyler Mosbeck and Robbie Rea scored for the Muskies in regulation time, with Kirk Markowski and Richie Callewaert replying for the Eagles.
“I think we are kind of fortunate to get a point as this was not our best outing,” Eagles’ coach Darryl Mousseau admitted.
“We just couldn’t take care of our zone, and we ended up getting outshot by a 3-to-1 margin.
“But our goaltender [Justin Oltsher] played well and kept us in it,” Mousseau added.
With a 3-0-1 record in league play, the Muskies will look to continue their winning ways tomorrow night when they head to Kenora to face St. Thomas Aquinas.
Then the squad will returning home for a 7:30 p.m. clash Saturday with the Red Lake Rams at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
“We haven’t played either team yet this season, but T.A. has beaten Kenora already this year and Red Lake has won over Dryden, which shows you that anyone can win any game,” Gushulak warned.
“We just want to go in there and take an approach like we do with every other team,” Romyn said.
“We want to pound them into the ground and take advantage with what we got on our roster,” he stressed.