Muskies rally to beat Broncos Able to sweep season series

An 18-shot third period, in which the Muskie boys’ hockey team scored twice, gave them a come-from-behind 3-2 win over rival International Falls Broncos over there last night—and subsequent “bragging rights on the beach” come summer.
Confused? Let Muskie head coach Shane Bliss explain.
“That term came from Terry Ogden when he coached us,” Bliss said. “Those games used to pack the barn and everyone used to talk about them.
“These games are for bragging rights come summer time, he said—not that you’ll run into these guys on the beach, but it was just a phrase that got stuck in my head,” Bliss added.
The Muskies had beaten the Broncos 3-0 here back in November.
But things didn’t start out well for the Muskies last night as the host Broncos drew first blood with about six minutes left in the first period.
The Muskies answered on the penalty kill shortly afterwards.
Josh Sigurdson caused a turnover in the neutral zone, skated down the left side, and swung a cross-ice feed to a trailing Brock Benjamin, who made no mistake with his one-time slapshot that came five feet outside the crease.
The Falls were late in arriving for the start of the second period, but due to three penalties by the Muskies in a four-minute span, the Broncos took advantage when a squeaker from a loose rebound in front of the net went through the legs of Deidrick Brueggeman.
“They [his players] took some penalties that they probably shouldn’t have, but that just comes from emotion,” said Bliss.
“They want to go out there and work so hard and do everything they can, but every once in a while it draws some penalties, but it’s hard to control that emotion.”
With the Muskies trailing 2-1 after two periods, and being out-shot 16-14, something had to give. And with the first-place Dryden Eagles coming to town next Tuesday night (Feb. 15), the black-and-gold needed to set the stage for that game in last night’s third period.
“He just asked everyone how bad we wanted it,” replied Muskie forward Tyler Pocock when asked what Bliss told the team during the second intermission.
Well, he said more than that.
“The one thing that I said that might’ve perked their ears up a bit was that, ‘Do you want to be their fifth win?’” said Bliss.
“The Falls have had a pretty tough go this year because they have four wins in like 25 games, and I asked, ‘Do you want to be their fifth notch on their board, or not?’
“And if you don’t, then go out and change things right now’” he added.
The Muskies not only heard but also heeded their coach’s words.
After a hard forecheck led to the Broncos icing the puck on numerous occasions to start the period, Matt Redford, assisted by Kevin Plett, tied the score at 2-2 with 10:55 left in regulation time.
Then Andrew Easton notched the game-winner with 9:27 to go on a breakaway, in which he made no mistake finding the five-hole of the Falls’ goalie.
Jordan Bale drew the assist.
“This was definitely huge. It showed a lot of character from the guys to come back and win this won,” said Pocock.
The win also could prove to be a stepping-stone in the Muskies’ quest for an all-Ontario berth as their play has been sporadic of late.
“With this team, you never know which team is going to show up, and our record proves that,” said Bliss. “One day they come and play, but the next day they forget the lessons learned.
“But I hope we can build some momentum [with last night’s win],” he added.
In related news, the Fort Frances Canadians Midget ‘AA’ also was in action across the river last night to face the Broncos’ junior varsity team.
The Canadians came back from 2-0 after two periods to force a tie. The Canadians’ first goal came off the stick of George Ossachuk, assisted by Curtis Logue.
Then Brandon Roden notched the game-tying goal, with Travis Wolframe and Justin Pryde drawing the assists.