Pardon Mel Langtry if he is starting to see Bill Murray when he looks in the mirror these days.
When it comes to dealing with the Pembina Valley Tigers, Langtry and his Muskie girls’ hockey crew must feel like they’re starring in the sequel to Murray’s classic comedy film, “Groundhog Day,” where he is trapped reliving the same day over and over again.
The Manitoba-based Tigers made it three wins in four tries against the Muskies this season, including the last three in a row, by claiming a 4-3 decision in the gold-medal game of a tournament in Altona on Saturday.
Langtry said another silver-medal finish is something his team can build off of, but can’t understand why his squad can grab the Tigers by the tail of late.
“We beat a team 11-2 [the Mennonite Collegiate Institute Blues from Gretna, Man.] at this tournament that the Tigers only beat 3-1,” he noted.
“They just have our number this year.”
After beating Pembina Valley in the preliminary round of their pre-season tournament here, the Muskies lost to the Tigers in the final.
Looking to deliver some payback, the Muskies dropped a tight 2-1 contest to Pembina Valley in their tourney opener Friday before also succumbing in the title game rematch.
Jessie Baker put in a valiant effort in the final, scoring all three of Fort High’s goals in the first two periods.
But Brandy Klagen netted a pair of second-period markers and Kristy Caldwell had a game-tying tally for Pembina Valley, all in the middle frame, before Nicole Lee beat Melissa Payne for the eventual game-winner 2:20 into the third.
Payne made 26 saves in defeat while Merritt Bramwell turned aside 29 Muskie shots to backstop her team to the tourney crown.
In the opener between the two teams, Courtney Easton put the Muskies ahead in the first.
But goals by Mandy Marchant in the second and Lee in the third against Payne pushed the Tigers over the top in a defensive battle that saw Fort High outshoot the Tigers 22-14.
The Muskies bounced back with a 5-2 win over the Morden Thunder in their second game.
Baker notched a pair of goals while Taylor Dixon, Carlee Bosma, and Courtney Bethune added singles to go along with Dana Cridland’s eight-save performance between the pipes.
Stacy Woods and Natalie Vanderberger replied for the Thunder.
Fort High then took apart the Blues, with Danielle Jean leading the way with a hat trick in a game where seven Muskies had multiple-point efforts.
Alyssa Penner, who suffered a wrist injury in the final after an illegal hit that will keep her out indefinitely, had two goals and an assist, as did Jessica Taggart.
Shae-lynn Smith also scored twice while Jillian Langtry (four points) and Baker supplied the other goals, with Cridland easing her way through an 11-save outing.
Melissa Klippenstein had both markers for MCI.
The win left the Muskies in second place in Pool ‘B’ and into the semi-finals against the Sturgeon Heights Huskies, who topped Pool ‘A’ by going unbeaten.
But the Winnipeg-based Huskies were hit by a black-and-gold tidal wave in the opening frame as the Muskies jumped to a 4-0 lead and then held on for a 4-2 win.
Bosma (two), Jean, and Erika Anderson all scored while Langtry had two assists. Tori Spencer and Kelly McGibney replied for Sturgeon Heights.
Payne made 25 saves to earn the win while Marisa Lajeunesse had 32 stops in a losing cause.
The Muskies return to action this weekend at a tournament in Dryden.
They will take on the Sioux Lookout Warriors on Friday at 12:30 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. clash with the host Eagles, before completing the preliminary round Saturday against the Kenora Broncos.
Fort High’s next home game is not until Dec. 8, when they welcome their cross-border rivals, the International Falls Broncos, to the Ice For Kids Arena for an exhibition tilt.
It also will be the Muskies’ annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game, with fans encouraged to bring stuffed animals to the game and throw them onto the ice after the first Muskie goal.
These will be donated to underprivileged youth at Christmas.
Spectators also are encouraged to bring along a box or two of cereal for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Hamper food drive.