For heart-pounding finishes, it would be almost impossible to top Saturday night’s thriller the Muskie boys’ hockey team experienced in Morden, Man.
Matt DePiero capitalized on a turnover in the offensive zone and scored the game-winner with one second left in regulation time, giving the Muskies a scintillating 3-2 victory over NorWOSSA rival Dryden Eagles in the gold-medal game at their final pre-season tournament.
“It’s going to be a fun year going up against Dryden,” said Muskie coach Shawn Jourdain.
“They’re a pretty good hockey team.”
DePiero’s heroics capped a seesaw third period in which four of the five goals in the game were scored.
Nick Kaun and Donovan Cousineau had the other goals for Fort High, with Wes Brown making 27 saves to earn the win between the pipes.
Matt Bartlett and Ryan Lobreau replied for Dryden. who got a 36-save effort from goalie Zach Lake.
The Muskies went a spotless 4-0 in the tourney, outscoring their opponents 22-6 in the process.
Fort High began its run to the title with an 8-0 whitewashing of the host Morden Thunder on Friday. Colton Spicer spearheaded the Muskie attack with a five-point effort, including a hat trick.
Jamie Kaun, Brendan Cawston, Jeff Davis, David Chambers, and Cousineau had the other goals for Fort Frances, which outshot Morden 41-19, while Devin Stromness earned the shutout in goal.
In their second outing Friday, the Muskies manhandled the Kenora Broncos 5-1.
Cousineau netted a pair in that one, with Chambers, Davis, and Jamie Kaun adding singles. Stromness turned aside 26 shots for the win.
Colt German had the lone marker for Kenora, with Braden Seniw registering 42 stops in a losing effort.
The Mountain Mustangs, consistently one of Manitoba’s top high school teams, weren’t good enough to dig out of a 4-0 hole after two periods against Fort High and wound up on the wrong end of a 6-3 decision on Saturday.
It was deuces wild for the black-and-gold’s offence, with Nik Jourdain, Cousineau, and Davis all connecting for a pair of markers.
Kody Conrad (two) and Brody Chabbert were the only Mustang shooters to beat Brown, who posted a 21-save effort.
His counterpart, Alode Grenier, made 26 saves for Mountain.
The Muskies launch their NorWOSSA regular-season tomorrow (Nov. 17) at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena against Kenora.
Before the game, the home side will honour longtime Muskie fan Cam Smith by repeating the same tribute paid before Saturday night’s Muskie girls’ game versus Dryden, with Smith’s Muskies “No. 1 Fan” jacket to be officially retired.
Smith, 63, died from an infection in late August.