Muskies win opener

OSHAWA—The Muskie boys’ hockey team earned a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Thomas A. Stewart Griffins (Peterborough) this morning in their opening game at the all-Ontario ‘AAA’ championship in Oshawa.
But while he was happy to pick up that crucial first win in round-robin play, Muskie head coach Shane Bliss was not thrilled with his team’s overall performance.
“We were happy to get the win,” he remarked following the game. “It was kind of ugly at times. We had it going on and then we kind of let it slip away.
“We have a young team and when we make a couple of mistakes against a veteran team like we played today, they can make the most of it,” Bliss added.
“We were a little nervous, a little panicky. In the beginning, the nerves were there.”
After falling behind 1-0 early in the first period, Mike McCaig tied the game after he intercepted a Griffins’ pass in the neutral zone.
The Muskie blueliner skated into the Griffins’ zone and then wired a shot from just inside the blueline that beat goalie Jeremy Eckford top corner on the glove side.
The black-and-gold fell behind again early in the second period but Kevin Bobczynski pulled the Muskies back to even—beating Eckford five-hole on a breakaway.
Then less than a minute later, the Muskies grabbed their first lead of the game.
Dustin Brown’s point shot was partially blocked but the puck found its way onto Kevin Bobczynski’s stick. He fired a cross-crease pass to Joe Basaraba, who tapped it in for an easy goal.
The Griffins—seeded 17th out of the 20 teams—would not surrender, though, as they picked up a late goal to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the third period.
Basaraba opened the period with a nifty stickhandling display. The first-year Muskie skated through several Griffins’ defenders before shooting the puck between his legs.
Eckford stopped Basaraba’s shot, but Kyle Turgeon buried the rebound to make it 4-3.
The black-and-gold then appeared to seal the win when Turgeon and defenceman Brian Glavish combined for the Muskies’ fifth goal.
Breaking in on a two-on-one, Turgeon held the puck until the last possible moment before feathering it across to Glavish, who buried it into the yawning cage.
But the Griffins scored with just over three minutes left in regulation time to set up what proved to be a wild finish.
With just under three seconds to go, a Muskie was whistled for putting his glove on the puck in the Fort High crease—resulting in a penalty shot.
Muskie goalie David Moen played the shooter to perfection, forcing him to take a bad-angle shot that grazed the outside of the post.
After the ensuing face-off in the Muskies’ zone, the Griffins crashed the crease. The puck crossed the goal line but was immediately waved off by the referee because time had expired.
The Muskies—seeded eighth—next face ninth-seeded Brother Andre (Markham) tomorrow at 9 a.m. (CDT) in Pool ‘A’ action.