Muskies’ playoff drive begins tonight

A run at a NorWOSSA playoff spot begins tonight as the cellar-dwelling Muskie boys’ hockey team host the Beaver Brae Broncos in hopes of avoiding the program’s first-ever last-place finish.
Since the inception of the present playoff system in 1986, which sees four of five teams qualify for the post-season, the Muskies have never missed them.
But they currently sport a 1-5-1 record—a point behind fourth-place Sioux Lookout—with just nine games to go.
The Muskies also have scored a league-low 16 goals so far this season.
“It’s been a long time. It hasn’t happened in the years I’ve been here,” said Muskie head coach Glen Edwards, whose team is winless in their last five league games.
“But we have to set our sights higher than Sioux Lookout. There’ll be a lot of changes in the standings.
“Every league game is going to be a big game,” Edwards stressed.
But Bronco head coach Brian Kozak said he’ll believe Fort High’s last-place finish when he sees it. “We expect them to make the playoffs. You can never count the Muskies out,” he remarked.
The Dryden Eagles currently sit atop the NorWOSSA standings with a 9-1 record. Kenora is second at 5-4-1, followed by Red Lake (5-5), Sioux Lookout (2-7) and Fort High.
The Muskies haven’t played a NorWOSSA game since Dec. 11 when they allowed a third-period goal to salvage for a 3-3 tie against Kenora. The Broncos beat the black-and-gold 4-1 in their only other matchup Nov. 20.
Game time tonight is 7:30 p.m. at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
Muskies David Pollard, Jordan Shannon, and Andrew George won’t suit up tonight. Pollard and Shannon are injured while George is serving the second of a two-game suspension for fighting.
This leaves Edwards with just four defencemen and three forward lines. Recent injured players Kyle McTavish and Luc Carlson, who played against Baudette, will play tonight.
Mathew Gamsby will get the start in goal.
“We still have a few injuries we’re nursing so we’ll be a little short-staffed,” said Edwards.
Meanwhile, the Broncos have gone through some changes of their own, losing three regulars to academic probation earlier this month.
In related news, the Muskie girls’ hockey team (2-4) is off to Red Lake this weekend for a pair of games tonight and tomorrow. The games originally were scheduled Feb. 15-16 but changed by Fort High’s athletic department.
The team only will take 10 skaters and two goalies for the weekend. Krystine Marchuk and Ashley Whalen—two Bantam house league players—will the join the team.
An exhibition game last night at International Falls was postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.