Muskies give coach his Christmas wish

If all Muskie head coach Glen Edwards wanted from Santa Claus this year was to have his team in first place at the Christmas break, the big guy in the red suit certainly delivered.
Of course, Santa got a lot of help from the Muskie players themselves, who swept the Sioux Lookout Warriors there last weekend to improve their league record to 8-1–good enough for sole possession of first place in NorWOSSA (two points better than the 7-0 Dryden Eagles).
Their lone loss came in overtime against the Eagles here last week.
The black-and-gold had little trouble downing the Warriors last Friday night, skating away with an easy 7-1 victory. But in Saturday’s contest, the Muskies had to overcome a 3-0 deficit in the second period to scratch out a 5-4 thriller.
Brad Gushulak, the league’s leading scorer up to now, capped off a sensational first half of the season when he corralled a loose puck and beat the Sioux Lookout goalie with just 48 seconds to play Saturday afternoon to give the Muskies their comeback win.
The Muskies trailed 2-0 after the first and then 3-0 early in the second before rookie Adam McTavish and Chris Kellar each scored to pull them to within one.
After Ryan Armstrong tied the game at 3-3 in the third, Jordan Roy gave the Muskies their first lead when he scored with about eight minutes left. But it was short-lived as Sioux Lookout tied the score again at 4-4–setting the stage for Gushulak’s last-minute heroics.
Armstrong, named the Muskie player of the game Friday night, said this year’s squad has the ability to battle back and win games even when they find themselves down on the road.
“Yeah, a lot of the guys have the feeling that even when we’re down a couple of goals, we can come back and win and that it’s not over until it’s over,” the assistant captain noted.
David Lloyd scored twice in the first, then Jon Lloyd and Gushulak each scored in the second, as the Muskies jumped out to a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes in Friday’s game. Ross Anderson, McTavish, and Gushulak later added third-period markers to seal the victory.
“These games are the ones that we have to win to keep pace with Dryden in the standings,” said Edwards, whose team also has had to battle injuries throughout much of the first half.
“We played pretty good Friday, we had a lot of quality chances, but I also like the way they [the players] battled back Saturday,” he added.
Edwards admitted he likes the way his team is taking shape so far, a much better start than last season which saw the black-and-gold struggle during the first half before making a strong, late-season run to reach the NorWOSSA final (eventually losing to Dryden).
“This year is definitely more interesting than last year with Dryden and us in a battle for first,” said Armstrong. “We’re not more relaxed because two teams will make it to OFSAA. I think we’re more ready because we want home-ice advantage [for the playoffs].”
With the schools now out for the Christmas break, the Muskies don’t resume NorWOSSA action until Jan. 8 when they travel to Kenora.