OTTAWA—The Muskie boys’ hockey team romped to a 7-0 win over the third-seeded Saint Michael Mustangs (Niagara Falls) yesterday afternoon to keep their medal hopes alive at the OFSAA ‘A/AA’ championship in Ottawa.
“That was a big win,” Muskie head coach Jamie Davis said afterwards.
“Nineteen guys in the room answered the bell, plain and simple.
“We played well,” he added. “It’s a big win for us, no doubt.”
With the win, the Muskies improved to 2-1 heading into their final game in Pool ‘C’ this morning against the 15th-ranked St. Joseph Jaguars (Nepean).
Fort High needs to win that game to finish at 3-1 and all but assure itself a berth in the quarter-finals later today.
But a loss to St. Joseph likely will send the Muskies home at 2-2.
The black-and-gold jumped out to a 3-0 lead midway through the first period against the Mustangs on goals by Chase McGuire, Cooper Witherspoon, and Graeme Kitt.
“It was a fun game,” McGuire enthused.
“We expected something a lot closer going into it, but it was relieving when we popped the first two goals,” he added.
The Muskies then converted on three power-play chances in the second to extend their lead to 6-0.
Cameron Gushulak, Brent Jourdain, and Colton Bodnar were the goal scorers.
Kitt tallied his second goal of the game late in the third to round out the scoring.
“I didn’t expect to beat them like that,” Davis admitted afterwards.
“But I expected to beat them,” he stressed. “We are a better team than they are … and I thought we matched up against them well.
“All of our guys played well and did what was asked of them to be successful,” Davis added.
Dylan Ossachuk earned the win in goal.
Earlier yesterday, the Muskies survived a late comeback attempt by the General Amherst Bulldogs (Amherstburg) to nab a 3-2 victory.
“We hung on,” Davis said with a laugh.
“I thought we played really good.”
But Davis was less pleased with the efforts of the referees.
“The officiating was awful to say the least,” he remarked.
“It wasn’t good, it was inconsistent, and I think they let it get out of control.
“Unfortunately, we came out with playing the last six-eight minutes shorthanded and they’re putting the pressure on,” Davis noted.
“But we hung on and that’s all that matters.”
The Muskies opened the scoring late in the first period when McGuire buried the rebound after Gushulak’s initial shot.
Bodnar then extended the lead early in the second on a goal assisted by Kitt.
The Muskies made it 3-0 in the third when Kitt wired a puck over the glove of the Bulldogs’ goalie Jack Langlois.
“Cam [Gushulak] made a nice play to tie up the defenceman and get the puck back to me,” Kitt recalled.
“It was a 2-on-1, I saw the glove side open, and I had to try and hit it.”
But the Muskies found themselves in penalty trouble later in the frame, which the Bulldogs capitalized on.
Then they scored with their net empty to quickly pull within one.
But Muskie goalie Matt Booth was able to hold down the fort and preserve the win.
“This game was a little bit chippier but we definitely had some more room out [there] to skate,” Kitt said afterwards.
“And we played well, did our jobs, and everything seemed to fall into place,” he added.
The Muskies were coming off a 5-3 loss to the Frontenac Falcons (Kingston) in their opening game Monday.
McGuire led the way in that one with two goals and an assist while Max Williams netted the other goal.