Muskies split series with Warriors

The Muskies (2-9-2) remain one point behind the Sioux Lookout Warriors (3-10-1) for the fourth-and-final NorWOSSA playoff spot after splitting a pair of home games against them.
The black-and-gold took the opener 5-2 on Friday night but fell 6-3 to the visiting Warriors on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m not pleased with the split at all,” said Muskie head coach Glen Edwards, whose team squandered a perfect chance to take over fourth place and create a gap between them and the Warriors as the regular season winds down.
“We wanted to win both games,” he stressed.
After a scoreless first period Saturday, Fred Shakakeesic scored twice early in the second to give the Warriors the lead.
Kurtis Wepruk and Nathan Miller later tied the game but the Warriors bounced back with three unanswered goals in the last half of the period.
First, Andre Shakakeesic roofed a loose puck over Muskie goalie Mathew Gamsby. Fred Shakakeesic then tipped in a low point shot before Trenton Kelly scored with 25 seconds to go for a 5-2 lead after 40 minutes.
Muskie forward Jordan Wilson beat Aleksi Kauhanen after two cracks alone in front to close the gap in the third. But Rob Lawrance later iced the game with the Warriors’ fourth power-play goal.
“Even up, we played OK,” said Edwards. “We just took too many penalties. They scored four power-play goals and that was the game right there.”
“It seemed like we weren’t skating as well as we were [Friday],” added Miller, an assistant captain. “They picked up their game in the second and we couldn’t match them.”
The night before, the Muskies grabbed an early lead on goals by Jamie Krukoski and Wilson in the first period.
Defenceman David Pollard backhanded a soft shot that found its way past Kauhanen on a second-period power play before Terry Kellar made it 4-0 in the third by streaking in alone after teammate Jordan Shannon had dropped off the puck before being rubbed out by a defender.
The Warriors put two on the board later in the third to draw to 4-2 but Muskie defenceman Kyle McTavish snuck in from the point to poke home a loose puck with 52 seconds left.
The Muskies, who will visit Chisholm in their final exhibition action tomorrow, have three games left in NorWOSSA play, including a pair of games in Red Lake this weekend and their final home game next Tuesday (Feb. 19) against Dryden.
Meanwhile, the Warriors host Dryden tomorrow and then wrap up play next Tuesday in Kenora.
Since the current NorWOSSA playoff format was adopted in 1986 (with the top four of five teams advancing), the Muskies have never missed the post-season.