Muskie girls shine in semi-final win
In playoff hockey, the team that steps up their game the most from how they played during the regular season usually comes out victorious.
That exact scenario played out Monday night at the Ice For Kids Arena here as the second-seeded Muskie girls’ hockey team skated to a 5-1 victory over the Dryden Eagles in their one-game NorWOSSA semi-final clash.
“The girls came out from the start and turned in a good performance,” Muskie head coach Scott Clendenning said after Monday’s game.
“It was one of those things that you work on all year to have the girls play the way that they can,” he added. “And when they do that, good things happen.
“When all of the lines are moving, the defence is working hard, and the goalies are playing aggressively, you are in good shape.”
Using their speed to their advantage throughout the opening 20 minutes, the Muskies led 2-0 after Amy Penner and Amber Jourdain beat Eagles’ goalie CJ Jolicoeur.
“I think one of the things that helped with that was from moving the puck,” Clendenning noted.
“We’ve been talking about moving the puck from ‘D’ to ‘D’ and moving it to their weak side, and it has helped us a lot, instead of throwing the puck into the middle where there’s a jam-up,” he explained.
“Fort had the motion in their favour, especially when they scored those goals early,” said Eagles’ head coach Brian Patterson.
“They were able to capitalize on that momentum, and they were able to beat us to the puck in our own end on multiple occasions mainly because they had better legs than us,” he added.
Leading the charge for the black-and-gold was Grade 11 forward Shelby Tymkin, who notched a hat trick and also assisted on Jourdain’s goal.
“Every time that Shelby is on the ice, she is a work horse,” Clendenning lauded.
“She doesn’t stop skating and when is she always moving to feet, she is so hard to stop.
“She’s a big body out there and it’s so nice to see her on her game like that,” he added.
At the other end of the rink, Grade 10 goalie Kate Parsons made a number of big saves when called upon.
She was just minutes away from a shutout before Dryden’s Kyla Lindquist tallied in the dying stages of the third period.
“No matter where you are on the ice, you have to play strong and aggressive,” Clendenning stressed.
“And when both of our goalies [Parsons and Calie Clendenning] do that, they are on their game,” he added.
Monday night’s win came off the heels of the Muskies’ appearance at the first-ever Female World Sport School Challenge in Winnipeg over the weekend, where they finished in eighth place following a 5-2 loss to the Banff Hockey Academy in the seventh-place game.
While they were unable to register a win, Clendenning said the squad did impress many in attendance with their level of play, especially against much stronger opponents.
“When you look at some of the players that you are going up against, they are future Olympians,” he noted.
“And one of the teams there had three players who are on Canada’s under-18 team.
“After our second game in the tournament, Kevin Bathurst of Hockey Canada came up to talk to me and said that he was so impressed with how we competed, we are invited back to participate in it again next year,” Clendenning added.
“That’s a big feather in the cap for the Muskie program.”
Up next for the Muskies, though, will be their series against Kenora for the NorWOSSA crown.
The opener goes tonight at 7:15 p.m. at the Ice For Kids Arena here, with the final game set for Sunday in Kenora.
“I think it’s going to be a great two-game series,” Clendenning said.
“In the last game that we had against each other before the playoffs, there was end-to-action and the game went to a shootout,” he recalled.
“I think what we need to do, though, is to get pucks in the net as we have been getting lots of pucks to the net, but we haven’t been able to score,” Clendenning added.
“If we do that, we will be just fine against Kenora.”