The Muskie boys’ hockey team opened their NorWOSSA season with a bang here last night, thumping the Kenora Broncos 10-2 at the Ice for Kids Arena.
Kevin Webb, assisted by Ross Anderson, put the black-and-gold in front just 16 seconds into the game. Then Tom Rose, from Adam McTavish and Webb, made it 2-0 less than a minute later.
Dan Rudkevitch got the Broncos on the scoreboard with a goal at 8:31 of the first period.
But it was all Muskies after that.
Kris Esselink, assisted by Webb, made it 3-1 for the black-and-gold before Rose, from Jeff Savage, followed up with another quick goal to widen the gap to 4-1.
David Lloyd, assisted by Lorne Koski and Anderson, rounded out the first-period scoring.
Webb, this time assisted by Esselink and Anderson, once again opened the scoring in the second frame, putting the Muskies up 6-1 just 21 seconds into the period.
Webb then completed his hat trick, with Anderson (from Esselink and Webb) adding yet another before the period was five minutes old to make the score 8-1.
Kenora refused to die, with Logan Bryson netted a goal to make it 8-2 heading into the third.
The Muskie defence held the Broncos scoreless over the final 20 minutes while Esselink, assisted by McTavish and Rose, and Anderson (from Hayward and Koski) rounded out the scoring.
The black-and-gold fired 53 shots at the Kenora goal while the Broncos managed just 23 at the Muskies.
Muskie head coach Glen Edwards was confident his team would play a strong game against Kenora but admitted it was hard to know exactly how things would go.
“It is early in the year, so it is difficult to get a handle on what the other teams will be like, but I am looking forward to a good game,” he had said Tuesday afternoon.
“I am pretty confident heading into this game. We are the league champs so Kenora has got a big task walking in and taking us on,” he added.
“It is not an enviable task and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.”
Edwards figured the Muskies will be strong overall this season but admitted the defence may give them a bit of a problem since they lost three strong players to graduation last year.
“We are strong up front. We have four strong lines that are quick, can handle the puck well, play a physical game, and they all have a scoring touch,” noted Edwards.
“Our goaltending is also strong but we have two rookies on defence, Kris Esselink and Jon Woodgate, who are both big boys,” he said. “Jon is a very physical player and Kris is a good all-around defensive player.”
Edwards also noted Tuesday that they’ve been running a lot of drills in practice.
“We have been working on the systems that we are going to use—this is especially important for the rookies,” he explained. “It takes a while for the rookies to adjust to the different systems we run. They have places they have to be and certain things they have to do.”
The Muskies tuned up for their season-opener by participating in the annual Warroad scrimmage tournament last weekend. Edwards said the team had a strong showing in four outings but thought some of the rookies were shocked at how physical the game was.
“We were happy with how the boys played. The veterans played up to our expectation and the rookies played much better on Saturday than they did on Friday,” he remarked.
“The first game was against Warroad and it was a physical game. That was a good game for the rookies to get their feet wet.”
The Muskies return to action for a pair of games this weekend against the Sioux Lookout Warriors before hosting the International Falls Broncos in an exhibition contest next Tuesday (Nov. 28).