Annalise Hayes’ quickest move all night was her attempted escape from a post-game interview.
Considering what she accomplished on the ice, that’s saying something.
Hayes netted a hat trick that sparked a 5-4 comeback win for the Muskie girls’ hockey team over the Dryden Eagles in the NorWOSSA regular-season opener Tuesday night at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
“It’s pretty important for us to get off to a good start,” the Grade 10 forward said about beating the Eagles.
“They’re fast and they’re a tough team to play against,” she noted.
“But before the game, I was really believing we were going to win.”
Dryden erased a 3-1 second-period deficit by scoring three-straight times to lead 4-3.
But with time winding down, Dryden’s Payton Boyko was whistled for tripping Janelle Kaemingh.
Enter the girl nicknamed “CC,” which stood for “clutch contributor” on this night.
Hayes picked up the puck at centre, made a lightning-fast move to the inside to leave an Eagles’ defender in her wake, and then wristed a perfect shot stick side on Dryden goalie Jacquie Grandmont to tie the game with less than two minutes to go.
Just 33 seconds later, Rachel Jean kept the puck in at the right point and sailed a cross-ice pass to Hayes in the left face-off circle.
Hayes didn’t get off a clean shot off but the off-speed offering fooled Grandmont, who whiffed with her glove-hand stab at the puck.
“She’s a big-time goal scorer,” Muskie head coach Todd Hamilton said of Hayes.
“When the moment is there, she always comes through.”
The Eagles pulled Grandmont with 35 seconds left for an extra attacker, but never got a good chance against Sydney Beck, who earned her first career regular-season win as a Muskie.
Jenna Clendenning had opened the scoring on a backhander from in close on a delayed penalty early in the first period.
Jess Carter tied it three minutes into the second on a power-play goal.
But Hayes restored the Muskies’ lead about two minutes later when she swooped in to poke home a loose puck of Taylor Croswell’s initial shot.
Siobhan Mackintosh then cleaned up a rebound at the side of the net on another delayed penalty later in the period to make it a two-goal Muskie lead.
But the Eagles refused to die—storming back with three unanswered goals to set the stage for Hayes’ late-game heroics.
“There’s a sign in the Muskie boys’ room with a saying from Duncan Keith that says, ‘Kill or be killed,’” noted Hamilton.
“We need a little bit more of that in our game,” he stressed.
“We seem to be satisfied with getting a goal or two up when we should be getting more—a lot more.”
The Muskies next head to Kenora tonight to face the Broncos.
Then they’ll host the Sioux Lookout Warriors for games Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Emo-La Vallee Arena and Monday at 1 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.