Muskie girls off to Winnipeg tourney
While a NorWOSSA semi-final contest against the Dryden Eagles beckons for the Muskie girls’ hockey team Monday night at the Ice For Kids Arena, the black-and-gold are getting set to embark on a unique journey this weekend.
The Muskies will be one of eight teams competing in the inaugural Female World Sport School Challenge from Feb. 21-24 in Winnipeg, which is being put on by Hockey Canada.
“There is going to be some very high female hockey that will be played this weekend, and some of your top prep schools in Canada are going to be there,” he noted.
“The girls are going to definitely be pushed and they will have to work hard there.”
The opportunity to take part in the tournament stemmed from a connection Clendenning has with Larry Bumstead, the head coach of tournament host St. Mary’s Academy and who runs a hockey camp in Ignace.
“Basically, we were looking for some games for the team when we had our downtime a couple of months ago,” Clendenning explained.
“Larry had mentioned that a team had dropped out of the tournament, and he asked if we wanted to bring a team to Winnipeg for it.
“I looked into it and thought that it would be a great opportunity, and I talked to the parents and the executive of the Red Line Club about it, and they thought it was be a great idea,” he added.
The Muskies, who are in Group ‘A’ and will play all of their games at the MTS Iceplex, will take to the ice tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. against St. Mary’s Academy.
Their second round-robin game will be Friday at 9:45 a.m. versus the Okanagan Hockey Academy from British Columbia, then they’ll conclude their preliminary games with a 3:15 p.m. contest that afternoon against the Edge School for Athletes (Calgary).
The playoffs will begin Saturday morning, with the final slated for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
“The girls will have to play mistake-free hockey, and that is something we have been stressing to them here lately,” Clendenning said.
“The key will be to make smart plays out there and not panic, and to also make the right pass,” he stressed.
Following that tournament, the Muskies will face Dryden in a winner-take-all NorWOSSA semi-final clash.
“If we play our style of hockey, we should be very successful in that game,” Clendenning remarked.
“It’s a one-game elimination, so it’ll be do or die and we will have to play our very best,” he warned.
The winner of Monday’s game then will play either the Kenora Broncos or Red Lake Rams in a best-of-three series for the NorWOSSA title (the dates of which have yet to be determined).
Those games will mark the end of the season as there will no NorWOSSA rep at the all-Ontarios this year.
The Muskies completed their NorWOSSA regular-season slate last Thursday afternoon in Kenora, where they lost 3-2 in a shootout to the host Broncos.
“It was a great game for the girls,” Clendenning recalled.
“There was a lot of high-tempo play for all three periods, but we just have to get the puck into the net,” he added.
“When we do that, we will be all right.”
Claire Sandelovich led the black-and-gold with a pair of goals.