Muskies rule at Morden

No retreat, no surrender, and no chance for anyone standing in the path of the black-and-gold.
The Muskie boys’ hockey team wasn’t the biggest dog in the fight, but they bared the sharpest teeth in reeling off four-straight wins to capture the Morden, Man. invitational tournament last weekend.
“We’re a smaller team compared to most of the teams we play against,” Muskie head coach Shane Bliss noted about the Muskies’ most significant tournament achievement in recent seasons.
“But we showed lots of jump, and lots of energy,” he added. “It was a pretty good measuring stick for us.”
Fort High, which outscored its four opponents 23-4 in the tournament, opened action by acting like Clearasil on its lone blemish from last year’s event in Morden.
The Pembina Tigers killed the Muskies’ title hopes with a 3-1 win in the semi-finals a year ago, but Fort High proved it has a long memory in such matters by demolishing the Tigers 6-1 this time around.
Power-play goals by Justin Larson and Steven Sus in the first period staked the black-and-gold to a 2-0 lead.
Chris Reykdal later scored on a power play 2:40 into the second to trim the lead, but Josh Sigurdson restored the Muskies’ two-goal lead just 44 seconds later.
Mike Niskala tallied before the period’s end to make it 4-1 entering the third. And when Tyler Miller connected for a short-handed marker 5:37 into the final stanza, the Tigers were all but declawed.
Niskala added his second to round out the scoring, with Sus adding an assist to cap a four-point effort. Matt Gamsby made 28 saves in the Muskies’ cage to notch the win.
Special teams were a major factor in the Muskies’ 9-0 whitewash of the Boissevain Broncos in their next contest. Fort High was a phenomenal five-for-five on the power play while outshooting the Broncos 47-9.
Niskala, Miller, and Sus all scored in the first while Kurtis Wepruk added a pair of second-period goals after a David Pierce tally.
Greg Flewelling then recorded a natural hat trick, beating Boissevain goalie Ezra Neufeld with 1:27 left in the second before picking up a pair against Neufeld in the third to finish a four-point outing.
The toughest job for goalies Jason Green and Cody Wood was to fend off boredom as the duo shared time between the pipes in garnering the shutout.
A semi-final battle ensued between the Muskies and the host Morden Mohawks, who fell 5-1 to Fort High in last year’s consolation final.
Sus made sure history would repeat itself, scoring twice in 2:05 in the third period, including the game-winner, as the Muskies doubled the Mohawks 4-2.
Matt Redford and Morden’s Mark Krashel traded goals in the first, with the same scenario occurring in the second as Wepruk and Mat McElroy did the honours.
Gamsby got the win in goal, but it was Green who got the call in the 4-1 championship clincher against the Carman Cougars, whom the Muskies had tied at last year’s tourney.
Niskala scored on the power play with 2:46 left in the first, assisted by Jordan Bale and Mark Kellar, to make it 1-0. Wepruk notched the game-winner 49 seconds into the second, with Sus upping the lead to 3-1 with 2:31 to go in the period.
Kass MacLean finally sent a puck behind Green to make things interesting at 3-1, but Niskala ended the suspense (assisted by Larson and Sus) at 8:04 by scoring his fifth of the tournament—tying him with Sus for the best mark on the Muskies.
Sus led all point-getters with 10 (five goals, five assists) over the weekend.