Muskie boys set for semi-finals against Broncos
While this Saturday’s winner-take-all NorWOSSA semi-final showdown against the Kenora Broncos didn’t need any extra hype, Muskie boys’ defenceman Aaron McDowell was quick to point out how exciting the game at the Ice For Kids Arena might be.
“It’s going to be a barn-burner,” the Grade 11 student enthused.
“It should be a good one.”
The black-and-gold, who finished in first place in the NorWOSSA standings with a 9-1 record, will have the advantage of playing in front of their home fans.
But according to Grade 11 forward Jack Hamilton, the Muskies will need to make sure they stay true to what has brought them success this season.
“We were kind of all over the place in our last game against Red Lake and we just didn’t play like we should have,” he admitted.
“We just need to make sure that we are playing Muskie hockey and we can do that if we just play up to our strengths, especially with our speed,” Hamilton stressed.
“We have been doing a lot of extra skating to get our cardio up, and I think that will help us out a lot.”
The Muskies wrapped up their regular-season slate last Tuesday night in Red Lake with a 6-2 win. But it was a stark contrast from their 15-0 whitewash over the Rams here back on Feb. 1.
“We came out with some energy in the first period and got a 4-0 lead, and we went into the dressing room thinking that we were going to run over the top of these guys again,” noted Muskie head coach Ed Vold.
“The next thing you know, we were leading by only two goals after the second and we had a really heart-to-heart talk with the guys about how they needed to pick up the pace.
“We ran into a little bit of penalty trouble in the third, but we killed those off and we went to work to get the win,” Vold added.
Leading the Muskies was forward Dylan Curtis, who netted a pair of goals and added two assists.
“He’s been picking up right where he left off before the break that we had,” Vold noted.
“He’s been burying the puck whenever he has chances, and that is what we need going forward.”
Tyler Mosbeck had two goals and an assist in Red Lake while David Pryde chipped in with three helpers.
Hamilton and Josh Gouin also scored.
Since that game, the Muskies have been hard at work preparing for their semi-final battle with the Broncos, which will be a rematch of last year’s NorWOSSA final that Fort High won in two-straight games.
“They are a really physical team,” Hamilton said of the Broncos. “They might not be as fast as us, but they make up for it in other ways, especially with how they use the body.
“We will have to use some of that style of play, as well,” he reasoned.
The winner of Saturday’s game will face either the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints or the Dryden Eagles in a best-of-three NorWOSSA final (the dates of which have yet to be determined).
That series will mark the end for the season for NorWOSSA teams, however, as their will be no representation at OFSAA this year.