Any talk of the Muskies going undefeated this season went crashing out the window here Friday night as they dropped a 7-5 decision to the Baudette Bears.
And if you talk to veteran assistant coach Ken Christiansen, the loss—which left the Muskies 8-1 overall (6-0 in NorWOSSA play)—probably was a good thing. There’s nothing like a surprising setback on home ice to wake up the charges.
“We had a bad night all around but I’m glad it happened now instead of in an important game and we can [now] get it out of our system,” said Christiansen.
“I think the boys were reading too many newspaper clippings,” he added.
The key was a disastrous second period by the Muskies, who often were guilty of running around in their own zone and taking too many undisciplined penalties.
Baudette cashed in with two power-play goals in the second frame (they had three altogether) as the Bears netted four unanswered tallies past Muskie goalie Jamie Booth in a 6:37 span.
“We started out okay but to be honest, they took it to us in the second and we lost our composure. And when that starts happening, the worse it gets,” said Christiansen.
To their credit, the black-and-gold came storming back in the third—getting goals from Jon Rogoza, Jeff Savage, and Ross Anderson—to draw to within 6-5.
Rogoza notched a power-play marker just 2:03 into the period when his wrist shot from the point beat Baudette goalie Mark Medwechuk.
Savage also tallied on the power play with 8:40 to go as the Bears, who already were one man short, had a delayed penalty coming their way. Then Anderson scored just 59 seconds later to make it a one-goal margin.
Adam McTavish also had a glorious chance to score in the third as he deked around a Baudette defenceman only to be foiled when Medwechuk made an acrobatic glove save from close range.
Baudette iced the game with an empty net goal by Brock Anundson just as time expired.
The game was tied 2-2 after one. Anderson and Savage scored for the Muskies while Tom Wilson and Jon O’Connor replied for Baudette.
Wilson completed his hat trick with a pair of goals in the second while Chris Hennum also netted a pair to make it 6-2 after two.
“We told the kids Baudette would be a good positional team and they always come out and skate hard and move the [puck] quickly,” Christiansen noted.
“We had a good talk with them before the third period . . . everyone learns a lesson from a game like that,” he remarked.
But the Muskies won’t have long to dwell on the loss as they go up against the International Falls Broncos there this Friday at 7:30 p.m. for round two of the “Battle of Borderland.”
The black-and-gold drew first blood with a 4-2 win here Nov. 30 but Christiansen said the Broncos will be ready for the rematch.
“They’ll have some games under their belt but I think we’ll be better because of the bigger ice surface,” he noted. “I think we play better when we have more room.”
< c*>Game summary
< c*>First Period
1. Muskies—Ross Anderson (Boomer Redford) 4:02
2. Bears—Tom Wilson 5:51
3. Muskies—Jeff Savage (Redford) 6:10
4. Bears—Jon O’Connor 11:21
Penalties—Jesse Rodrigues (Muskies) at 0:19, O’Connor (Bears) at 2:57, James Asplund (Muskies) at 5:13, Jason Olson (Bears) at 11:44, and Tom Rose (Muskies) at 14:35
< c*>Second Period
5. Bears—Wilson 1:33
6. Bears—Wilson (Brock Anundson) 4:21
7. Bears—Chris Hennum (Wilson) 6:09
8. Bears—Hennum 8:10
Penalties—Rose (Muskies) at 2:07, O’Connor (Bears)/Don Kellar (Muskies) at 4:04, Keith Block (Bears) at 5:02, Jon Rogoza (Muskies) at 6:05, O’Connor (Bears) at 7:50, Anundson (Bears)/Asplund (Muskies) at 8:10, and David Lloyd (Muskies) at 11:15
< c*>Third Period
9. Muskies—Rogoza- 3:03
10. Muskies—Savage 6:20
11. Muskies—Anderson 7:19
12. Bears—Anundson 15:00
Penalties—Hennum (Bears)/Block (Bears)/Steve Niskala (Muskies) at 1:04, Tyler Coyle (Muskies) at 2:39, Wilson (Bears) at 2:43, and Niskala (Muskies) at 11:38