NorWOSSA gold. Sweet, sweet NorWOSSA gold.
Jill Calder and Abbie Kenny both scored in the shootout to lift the Muskie girls' hockey team to a thrilling 2-1 win over the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) in the third-and-deciding game of the NorWOSSA final last night at the Ice For Kids Arena.
It was the first league title since 2018 for the Muskies, who now advance to the OFSAA 'A/AA' girls' hockey championship in Stratford running March 24-26.
“I'm super proud. We've worked so hard to get here all season and I knew that they really wanted it,” Muskie head coach Nicole Clarke said of her team after the championship win last night.
“Thankfully we were able to come out on top.”
It was just as relieving for Calder, who is the Muskies' captain and also was part of the 2018 squad that went to the all-Ontarios in Timmins.
“It's been the best feeling in the world winning tonight,” the Grade 12 veteran centre beamed.
“They're a hard team, they never give up and it came down to [our] mental game. It was tough, it wasn't easy for any of us. They fought right until the last buzzer.”
The Muskies, who went 9-1 during the regular season and then 4-1 in the playoffs, found themselves ahead 1-0 after 20 minutes on Tatum Glowasky's goal, which was set-up by Calder with just over two minutes to go in the frame.
Chloe Skead then drew the second-place Saints level with 8:31 remaining in the middle stanza.
After a scoreless third period, the game headed to a 10-minute 4-on-4 overtime session where again neither side could capitalize.
Calder sent a backhand high past Saints' goalie Faith Reid's glovehand on the Muskies' second attempt while Kenny also made good on her chance to lift the first-place Muskies to the championship.
Muskie goalie Kamryn Sandelovich was stellar in turning aside 60 shots in regulation, along with stoning all four Saints' shooters in extra shots, to garner the win in goal.
Reid was solid in making 42 saves in a losing cause for St. Thomas Aquinas, who settled for a hard-earned silver medal.
The seedings and schedule for OFSAA will be released in the upcoming days.
Meanwhile, the Muskie boys' team will be looking for similar success as their female counterparts when they battle the Saints in the third-and-deciding game of their NorWOSSA final tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the '52 Canadians Arena in Fort Frances.
The winner will advance to the OFSAA 'A/AA' boys' hockey championship in St. Catharines running March 25-28.