Muskies fall to Baudette

Like the old saying goes: the higher you are, the harder you fall.
That statement certainly can resonate with the Muskie boys’ hockey team after last night’s 4-1 exhibition loss to the Baudette Bears here.
After a lacklustre showing early in the season, including an 0-2 start to the NorWOSSA campaign, the Muskies had steadily improved their play of late and came into last night’s game with an air of confidence.
They had started to play smart; started to play crisp hockey. They also were cutting down on trips to the “sin bin.”
But (there’s always a but) they faltered against the Bears, who seemed to get under the Muskies’ skin, which caused the black-and-gold to abandon those things that had produced their recent success.
Trailing 1-0, Justin Larson (Brain White) tied things up after a scramble in front of Baudette’s goal. But that was as close as the Muskies would come.
The Bears netted their second goal three minutes into the second period right after the Muskies had killed a penalty.
And though Fort High showed flashes of brilliance, any decent scoring opportunities they had were thwarted by Baudette’s goalie, who was having an exceptional night.
Then with just 25 seconds left in the period, Josh Sigurdson was called for interference, which resulted in a Bears’ penalty shot—and much discussion over the call.
The player chosen to shoot for the Bears wasn’t on the ice when the penalty occurred and almost 15 minutes of debate elapsed before play finally resumed.
The Baudette player took the puck from centre ice, started wide right on Muskie goalie Wade Friesen, and then veered left—leaving Friesen vulnerable on his blocker side.
Like a game of “Monopoly” being played at a family reunion, the third period quickly became a heated affair as the Muskies amassed 10 minutes of penalties while Baudette had 12.
The Bears closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal.
The Muskies will be looking to bounce back this Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (12:30 p.m.) when they resume NorWOSSA action against the Red Lake Rams here.
The black-and-gold were confident heading into last night’s game against Baudette after their good showing at the 24-team Genesis Hospitality High School tournament in Brandon, Man. last weekend.
Playing in the Victoria Inn division, the Muskies lost a 3-0 decision to the Neepawa Tigers on Friday to drop them down to the ‘B’ bracket, but followed that with a 6-1 win over the Shaftesbury Titans.
Then on Saturday, the Muskies continued their well-rounded play with a 7-1 victory over the Vincent Massey Vikings before downing the Silver Heights Huskies 5-1, which put them into Sunday’s ‘B’ final.
And it was all Fort High in the final as they beat the Rivers Rage by a 7-3 score to finish the tournament with a 4-1 record.
Tyler Miller led the black-and-gold in Brandon with eight points (three goals/five assists), followed by Larson (five goals/two assists) and Brett Meyers (two goals/four assists).
Contributing four points apiece were Jake Esselink (four assists), Sigurdson (one goal/three assists), and White (two goals/two assists).

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