It was like Wile E. Coyote coming within a whisker of catching the Road Runner before having his prey turn its head, stick out its tongue, and speed off into the distance yet again.
That was the case here Tuesday night when the Saints and Muskie girls’ hockey team were locked in a 2-2 tie with less than two minutes to go in the second period.
Then the roof caved in.
It started when Taylor Croswell notched what turned out to be the game-winning goal with 1:19 left before intermission.
Emma Noga then finished off the visitors in what may have been record-breaking style.
The veteran Muskie forward scored with only one second left in the second, then tallied again just eight seconds into the third to complete her hat trick after opening the scoring 45 seconds into the game.
“I don’t know if that’s been done before [in NorWOSSA] but I know I’ve never seen it,” head coach Todd Hamilton said, referring to Noga’s two goals in what officially was nine seconds apart.
“Those goals were all about hard work by a power player when she’s in full stride,” he added.
Annalise Hayes (two) and Janelle Kaemingh added third-period goals to round out the scoring.
Lauren Hamilton had a power-play goal in the first.
Sydney Beck made 26 saves to get the win.
“St. Thomas Aquinas worked really hard off the start and didn’t give in easy,” noted Hamilton, whose team face the Saints for a third-straight game.
“They get good pressure when they’re forechecking and when they do that well, they’re hard to play against.”
With the win, the Muskies (13-1) locked up first place and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
Fort High is on track to face the fourth-place Sioux Lookout Warriors in the other best-of-three semi-finals starting next Wednesday here.
The Muskies will close out their regular-season home schedule against the Kenora Broncos tonight at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
A special “Parents Night” pre-game ceremony also is planned.
Meanwhile, over in the Ice For Kids Arena, the Muskie boys’ team (13-0) continued their march towards an unbeaten league campaign with a 7-1 win over the Dryden Eagles in their regular-season home finale Tuesday night.
Dryden actually led 1-0 in the first. But Chase McGuire netted the first of seven-straight Muskie goals just 1:02 later.
Graeme Kitt made it 2-1 later in the first before Cole Allan and Kitt with his second netted power-play goals in the second.
Colton Bodnar and Max Williams did the same in the third, to go along with an even-strength marker by Jon Busch.
Matt Booth earn the win in goal.
The Muskies close out the regular season with road games tomorrow in Sioux Lookout and then Tuesday in Dryden.
Fort Frances will host Sioux Lookout in Game 1 of their best-of-three semi-final next Thursday (Feb. 18).