OTTAWA— For the first time in 15 years, the Muskie boys’ hockey team will leave the OFSAA ‘A/AA’ championship with a medal around their necks.
Just what colour it is was to be determined this afternoon.
Fort High advanced to the gold-medal game against Silverton Collegiate Institute (Etobicoke) after hanging on for a 3-2 win over the St. Joseph Panthers (Cornwall) in the semi-finals this morning in Ottawa.
“It’s big time,” Muskie coach Jamie Davis said after the game.
“I don’t know how else to say it, it’s big time.”
“It means a lot for everybody—for ‘Kenno,’ for the kids, for their parents, for the school, for our community, for our league,” Davis added.
The Muskies, who advanced to the playoff round after finishing first in Pool ‘C’ with a 3-1 record, jumped out to a quick start this morning when Chase McGuire buried a rebound just 44 seconds into the game.
Muskie goalie Dylan Ossachuk made several key saves in the opening period to keep his team up by one.
Fort High also had a quick start to the second period when Graeme Kitt found the back of the net less than two minutes in to make it 2-0.
The Muskies, meanwhile, were able to contain the Panthers’ break-out all period and limit their scoring chances.
Then in the third, Max Williams tallied to give the Muskies a three-goal cushion with just 10 minutes left in regulation time.
And the goal proved important as the Panthers refused to roll over—getting a rebound past Ossachuk to pull within two.
Then with their net empty in favour of an extra attacker, St. Joseph’s scored again to make it 3-2 with 25 seconds to go.
But the Muskies pressured offensively after the ensuing face-off and never gave St. Joesph a chance to tie the game.
“It feels absolutely unbelievable,” Kitt said of the win.
“But we don’t want to settle—we want a gold,” he stressed.
The Muskies advanced to the semi-finals by blanking the Lockerby Vikings (Sudbury) 3-0 in quarter-final action yesterday.
“They deserved to win, that’s all I know,” Davis said of his team after that game.
“We’re not a white-collar team that’s gonna blow your socks off with tons and tons of skill,” he admitted.
“We’re blue-collar. We have to work hard, that’s our bread and butter. . . .
“It’s about zero mistakes and I thought we played solid in the third,” Davis added. “We didn’t give them [the Vikings] many opportunities, if any.
“And ‘Oz’ [Ossachuk] was there to make the stops when we needed him to.”
The game was scoreless through two periods until Cameron Gushulak scored twice in the first five minutes of the third to give the Muskies the lead.
“It was a tough game, but we came out flying and the chances just weren’t coming,” Gushulak noted.
“We kept chipping away, eventually they broke down, and we got that opening and took the chances when we had them, and made sure we never looked back after that,” he added.
Williams added an insurance goal with less than three minutes to go.