Defending champs oust Muskie boys
Some teams cling to championship status like a pit bull watchdog on the pant leg of a burglar.
The St. Paul’s Crusaders (Winnipeg) showed they were unwilling to surrender their crown by winning the fifth-annual Boston Pizza Piper Classic Tournament of Champions there over the weekend, which included a 3-2 victory against the Muskies in the quarter-finals Friday.
“We played well considering the two teams we lost to ended up in the final,” Davis said about the Crusaders and the St. John’s-Ravenscourt Eagles (Winnipeg), who lost 4-1 to St. Paul’s in the final.
“It’s not like any of the teams there we couldn’t have beat,” he added. “It’s just the little mistakes that are hurting us right now.
“But it’ll come around.”
The Crusaders made good on a two-man advantage in the first period to take a 1-0 lead.
“I don’t know how many power plays they got in a row,” steamed Davis.
“Aaron McDowall leans on a guy on a breakaway and he goes down and we get called for holding,” he recalled.
“Then one of our guys gets a partial breakaway, the same thing happens to him, and there’s no call.”
Josh Gouin tied the game later in the frame.
St. Paul’s notched a short-handed marker in the second, then pumped home an even-strength goal past Muskie goalie Jonah Johnson early in the third to go up 3-1.
Fort High refused to roll over, with Jarred Taylor bulging the twine to cut the deficit to one.
Unfortunately for the Muskies, Lady Luck proved to be a wicked damsel in the final half of the period.
With five minutes left, the black-and-gold thought they had netted the equalizer on a scramble in front of the Crusaders’ net.
But the referee whistled the play dead and disallowed the goal, saying he had lost sight of the puck.
“We could see the puck even from where we were,” an incredulous Davis remarked.
Then with two minutes left, Tyler VanUden almost gave himself a memorable gift on his 16th birthday—only to watch his shot ricochet off the crossbar.
Goal scorers for the Crusaders were not available at press time.
The Muskies had opened the tournament Thursday in spine-tingling fashion, winning 4-3 in a shootout against the College Jeanne-Sauve Olympiens (Winnipeg).
Two goals by Graeme Kitt and a single from McDowall helped force overtime.
With the extra session resolving nothing, the two teams began what turned into an almost unbelievable 13-round shootout.
Sam Tibbs’ successful shot in that round, combined with Derek Kaemingh’s 13th-straight shootout stop, gave the black-and-gold a win to remember for quite a while.
“I thought it was never going to end,” chuckled Davis.
“But it really never should have even gone to OT since we outshot them 37-17,” he noted.
Later Thursday, the Muskies took the lead in their second game against St. John’s-Ravenscourt on the strength of Braden Webb’s first-period goal.
The Eagles tied it before Tyler Mosbeck regained the lead for Fort High in the second.
But with six minutes left, Cole Tymkin was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for making contact to the head of an Eagles’ player.
St. John’s-Ravenscourt promptly made hay on the extended man-advantage, scoring two quick goals for a 3-2 triumph.
The Muskies bounced back Friday morning to blank the Garden City Gophers (Winnipeg) 6-0 to clinch second place in Pool ‘C’ of the 12-team tournament.
VanUden and Mosbeck made it 2-0 in the first before the black-and-gold racked up four goals in the second from David Pryde, Carter Brown, McDowall, and Nolan Vold.
Kaemingh earned the shutout.
The Muskies (4-1 in NorWOSSA play) were back in action last night against the visiting St. Thomas Aquinas Saints of Kenora (the outcome wasn’t available by press time).
Fort High then heads south for a couple of exhibition games—facing the Lafayette Eagles on Friday in Red Lake Falls before meeting the Detroit Lakes Lakers on Saturday.
Forward Malcolm King, who has been in and out of the lineup this season with a shoulder injury, is expected to return to action this weekend.
The Muskies don’t play on home ice again until Jan. 28, when the Dryden Eagles visit for a NorWOSSA showdown.