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Muskie girls’ team takes it to Saints

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Hanna LeDrew let it be known that anyone wanting to mess with one of her teammates is inviting trouble from everyone dressed in black-and-gold.

The rookie forward made a mark on the scoresheet while she and the rest of the Muskie girls’ hockey team conquered a physical foe in posting a pair of 6-1 wins over the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) last week in the first two of three-straight games between the two NorWOSSA rivals.

The squads collided one final time in the regular season last night at the ’52 Canadians Arena, with the score unavailable at press time.

Fort High (12-1) had to balance not getting dragged into the bump-and-batter style of the Saints (8-5) while still standing their ground—something LeDrew conceded was not easy.

“We just had to remember that we’re the better team,” said LeDrew, whose one-timer off an Annalise Hayes pass at 12:04 of the second period made it 3-0 in last Thursday night’s matchup here.

“We knew they’ll fall apart eventually,” she noted. “We’re more of a family than them.

“I don’t mind getting hit but it gets hard to keep calm, though, when other people on your team are getting hit,” added LeDrew.

“I don’t like that when it happens.”

In both the first game last Tuesday in Kenora and then the rematch here Thursday, the Saints held Fort High to a scoreless draw through the first period even though much of the puck possession belong to the Muskies.

Similarly, Fort High got its offence in gear in the final two periods—scoring three goals in each of the last two frames in both games.

“We came out tied after the first [period] each time but we stuck to our plays,” said LeDrew.

“I think we adjusted to how to play and made smarter plays [Thursday], and improved a lot.”

Hayes, meanwhile, showed why she is the Muskies’ leading scorer again this season by feasting on the Saints for a pair of goals in the first game and then a hat trick in the second one.

“We played at the same speed [Thursday], maybe a little faster,” she remarked.

“We moved the puck better [in the first game] but we got into the flow better [Thursday].”

Hayes, who didn’t shy away when the Saints tried to put a body on her to slow her down, said the Muskies had to stay focused on their own strengths.

“We just had to try and pass the puck around faster,” she reasoned.

“We have to keep the puck moving so they can’t catch us.”

Emma Noga, Siobhan Mackintosh, Rachel Jean, and Janelle Kaemingh had the Muskies’ other goals in last Tuesday’s win while Sydney Beck earned the win in goal.

Kaemingh (shorthanded) and Lauren Vold (power play) were the other Muskie snipers on Thursday.

Every win brings Fort High closer to clinching first place and home-ice advantage for the playoffs.

But Hayes said the Muskies are worried about the here and now rather than what’s down the road.

“I think we’re doing well with that in the dressing room and knowing we have to take it one game at a time,” she remarked.

“We still need to improve slowing the play down and practice getting our feet moving more, as well as shooting the puck,” she added.

“We’re getting set up down low well so we have to shoot it more when we get the chance.”

The Muskies will face the Kenora Broncos in their regular-season home finale tomorrow (Feb. 11) at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.

Then they’ll play a final playoff tune-up against the host Sioux Lookout Warriors on Sunday.

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