Muskies capture silver at tourney

Mitch Calvert

The Muskies returned home from Winnipeg with some hardware Saturday night, but it wasn’t quite the colour they were hoping for.
The black-and-gold were nearly flawless at the John Taylor Piper Classic hockey tournament over the weekend but fell short in Saturday night’s final with a 4-2 loss to the Oak Park Raiders (Winnipeg).
Kenton Gillis put Oak Park up 1-0 midway through the first but a hard-working effort by Zach McCool on the penalty kill knotted the score at 1-1 shortly afterwards.
McCool picked the pocket of the Raiders’ defenceman in his own zone and quickly spun and fired—surprising goalie Kyler Sobiak, who was late getting back into position after playing the puck.
The Muskies continued to get into penalty trouble, however, and Dillon Smith made them pay—firing home a one-timer from the point just minutes later to regain the lead.
A defensive breakdown would lead to another Raiders’ goal during four-on-four play as David Lafleche was allowed to tap in his own rebound past Muskie goalie Devon Stromness to give Oak Park a two-goal cushion heading into the final 20 minutes.
The black-and-gold did not roll over and die, though, as they closed the gap to one when Josh Scott’s point shot got past a screened Sobiak midway through the third.
The momentum was on their side after that and they pressed hard for the tie, but after Mike Jourdain was stopped point blank from the slot, the puck turned the other way—leading quickly to a goal by Kevin Stambrook to ice the victory and gold medal.
The Raiders also beat the Muskies in the final of a tournament in Brandon back in December, that time by a 5-3 score.
The Muskies had advanced to the final with a 4-1 win over St. John’s Ravenscourt on Saturday morning on goals by David Chambers, Jamie Kaun, Jourdain, and Blake Wepruk.
After opening the tournament with a 5-4 overtime victory against Selkirk on Thursday night, they then qualified for the championship bracket with a 4-1 win over Springfield Collegiate on Friday morning.
Wepruk had a natural hat trick in that one, with Matt DePiero netting the other goal.
In related news, Muskie goalie Jamison Shortreed was suspended for Saturday night’s final during an after-whistle scrum in the team’s semi-final win over St. John’s Ravenscourt.
He also is expected to miss two games of NorWOSSA action because of the incident, including tomorrow night’s tilt against the host Dryden Eagles.