The Muskie boys’ hockey team was eliminated from the all-Ontario boys’ hockey championship with a 4-0 loss to the Grand River Renegades (Kitchener) during the quarter-finals here Friday night.
The black-and-gold came out strong and outplayed the Renegades in the first period. However, a few lucky goals by Grand River—and unlucky opportunities for the Muskies—forced the loss.
“It’s always disappointing when the year is over,” said Muskie head coach Shane Bliss. “It was a disappointing loss but I think we held our composure.”
A certain issue seemed to weigh on the minds of the Muskies during the game.
“The other team was getting pretty yappy and chirpy,” noted Bliss. “The guys had to try hard to keep it together. I know I had to try and bite my tongue.”
After a rough period-and-a-half, Muskie starting goalie David Moen was pulled from the net and Richard Wieringa took over.
“It wasn’t his fault,” Bliss said of Moen’s performance. “He couldn’t even see that last goal. He made a couple of mistakes early on, but that team [Grand River] was quick.
“Richie really played well,” he added.
Overall, Bliss said it was a great season and that he’s very proud of the team’s performance.
Although the team had a successful season, that wasn’t helping soothe the emotions in the dressing room afterwards.
“I feel heartbroken,” said Mitch Green. “I have no idea what happened. Those guys were fast and they were big.
“I think we wanted it a lot, but it just never happened,” he added.
The Muskies—seeded 12th—had advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-3 victory earlier in the day against fifth-ranked Michael Power (Etobicoke) to close out pool play.
Tyler Miller led the way with a hat trick while Kevin Bobczynski, Lucas Romaniuk, and Brian White added singles.
The victory gave the black-and-gold a 2-1-1 record, which left them in second place in Pool ‘D’ with five points behind the 13th-ranked Uxbridge Tigers, who finished in top spot with a 3-0-1 record (seven points).
Michael Power (2-2) and fourth-ranked Birchmount Park (1-1-2) both finished with four points while 20th-seeded St. Matthew was winless in its four games here.
Uxbridge was eliminated in the quarter-finals Friday night with a 4-3 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Burlington), who had finished second in Pool ‘C’ behind third-ranked Grand River.
After tying the Birchmount Park Panthers 9-9 to open play Wednesday morning and then losing 4-2 to Uxbridge on Thursday morning in Emo, the Muskies kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 over St. Matthew’s that evening.
The black-and-gold got second-period tallies from Bobczynski, Jake Esselink, and Andrew Easton.
Against Uxbridge earlier Thursday, White had drawn the black-and-gold within one with 1:30 to go in regulation time, but the Tigers sealed the deal with an empty-net goal in the dying seconds.
As mentioned, the Muskies had opened the tournament with wild 9-9 tie against Birchmount Park after the Panthers scored two goals in the final 22 seconds of the game.
White tallied four times to pace the Muskie attack, with Miller adding a hat trick and Brett Meyers netting the other two goals.
The gold-medal game Saturday night saw the second-seeded Mount Carmel Crusaders (Mississauga) beat the top-ranked St. Michael’s Blues (Toronto) by a 4-2 score.
Grand River took home the bronze medal earlier that evening after blanking Notre Dame 3-0.
St. Michael’s had dumped Notre Dame 8-1 in the first semi-final Saturday morning while Mount Carmel beat Grand River 5-1 in the other one.
St. Michael’s, which had finished first in Pool ‘A’ with a 4-0 record, blanked the A.B. Lucas Vikings of (London)—the second-place team from Pool ‘B’—5-0 in the quarter-finals Friday night.
Meanwhile, Mount Carmel, tops in Pool ‘B’ at 4-0, nipped the Lasalle Lancers (Sudbury)—second in Pool ‘A’—by a 3-2 score in the quarter-finals.
The Kenora Broncos ended up in last place in Pool ‘A’ with a 0-3-1 record while the Dryden Eagles finished fourth in Pool ‘C’ with an identical 0-3-1 mark.
Other details of the tournament can be found at www.ofsaahockey2006.ca