Muskies hold playoff edge after split

An injured ankle wasn’t going to keep Jordan Shannon from saving the day for the Muskie boys’ hockey team.
The rookie forward netted his second goal of the game with 90 seconds left to give the black-and-gold a 5-4 win over the host Red Lake Rams on Saturday afternoon.
More importantly, it vaulted them into fourth place past the Sioux Lookout Warriors in the race for the final NorWOSSA playoff berth. The Muskies hold a one point edge with both teams having just one game left Tuesday.
The Muskies can clinch the berth with a victory over the first-place Dryden Eagles here Tuesday night, or if the Warriors lose their season finale on the road against the second-place Kenora Broncos.
It the two teams end up tied for fourth, Sioux Lookout would get the tie-breaker based on a better goals for total since the teams split their head-to-head matchups (2-2).
Red Lake already has clinched third place.
Shannon had opened the scoring Saturday in the first minute of the game. After Steve Ukrainetz tied it up, Greg Flewelling and Andrew Thompson traded goals to close out the period tied at 2-2.
Then early in the third, Kyle McTavish found himself with an open slap shot on the penalty kill to put the Muskies up 4-3 early in the third but Peter McLeod scored his team’s fourth late.
Terry Kellar and Garrett Kocis traded second-period goals.
The Muskies found themselves back in front early in the third when Kyle McTavish netted a short-handed goal, but the Rams tied it up once again on Peter McLeod’s tally.
But a Lorne Koski point shot found its way to Terry Kellar and then to Shannon, who fired it upstairs over Rams goalie Matt Sidders for the game-winner.
“He felt comfortable the whole weekend. He hung in there and played very well,” Muskie assistant coach Ken Christiansen said of Shannon, who had hurt his ankle in an exhibition game against Chisholm last week.
“Overall, That was a big lift. The kids never quit working hard,” he added. “Even if the score went back and forth, they kept their composure.”
Backup goalie John Zub got the start for the Muskies, stopping 34 of 38 shots.
Kellar, who also got two assists Saturday, said his team’s performance in a clutch situation was a sign they’ve improved since the season began.
“I think we cut down our one-on-one play. We’re finally starting to trust each other,” he remarked.
It was a different story Friday night when the Rams shellshocked Muskie starting goalie Mathew Gamsby with three goals in the first five minutes en route to a 6-2 win.
Clayton Anderson led the Rams with a hat trick while Paul Weese (two) and Kocis also scored. Andrew George and Jamie Krukoski replied for the Muskies.
“They just jumped on us,” said Kellar. “We didn’t have our skating legs at all.”