The St. Thomas Aquinas Saints went for the rough-and-tough approach.
Bad move against a team equally adept at delivering bruises both along the boards and on the scoresheet.
Annalise Hayes tallied twice as the Muskie girls’ hockey team went toe-to-toe with the host Saints and came away with a 6-1 victory in NorWOSSA action Tuesday.
“I thought the Saints came out very aggressive,” said Muskie head coach Todd Hamilton.
“Our game plan was to stay out of it but they continued to ramp up their aggressive play,” he noted.
“I told the girls we’ve got to protect our own players and not get pushed around.”
A scoreless first period featured plenty of icing calls against the Saints.
“That’s what they do,” said Hamilton.
“They try and keep it 1-1 or 2-2 or 0-0, and drag it into the third and then chip one in.
“They have to play that way because they don’t have a CC [Hayes, a Rylee Redford, or a Janelle Kaemingh,” added Hamilton, referring to three of Fort High’s top offensive weapons.
“They have to go with what they’ve got.”
Emma Noga, Siobhan Mackintosh, Kaemingh, and captain Rachel Jean were the other Muskie goal scorers.
Mariah White netted the lone Saints’ goal against Sydney Beck.
“The Saints pressed us a couple of times but Sydney make the key save at the right time, especially on a second-period breakaway when we were only up 3-0,” lauded Hamilton.
The Muskies (11-1) now have won six-straight in NorWOSSA play while the Saints (8-4) saw their six-game winning streak snapped.
The Saints likely will be a weary group entering tonight’s rematch with the Muskies at 7 p.m. at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
It will be their fifth game in five nights, with some of their players also competing for the Saints’ senior and junior girls’ basketball teams yesterday in Atikokan and today in Rainy River before heading here.
The Muskie boys’ team, meanwhile, overcame a heroic goaltending effort by Jackson Soliah to register a 2-0 victory over the Kittson Bearcats in exhibition action Tuesday in Hallock, Mn.
Following a scoreless first period that saw the Muskies outshoot the Bearcats 21-4, Sully Shortreed finally found a chink in Soliah’s armour.
Graeme Kitt added an empty-netter to seal the win.
Matt Booth made 18 saves in earning the shutout.
Fort High (9-0) will look to remain perfect in NorWOSSA play when it hosts the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (4-6-1-1) tonight at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena.
The Muskies won the teams’ two previous meetings by a combined score of 17-0.