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Muskie boys rally to nip Eagles in SO

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The Muskie boys' hockey team rallied to beat the Dryden Eagles in NorWOSSA action here Sunday afternoon.

The black-and-gold tied the score late in the third period when Mike Ward scored on the rebound of a Jake Barker slapshot.

After overtime solved nothing, Connor Nelson and Payton Avis each scored in the shootout as Fort High eked out a 6-5 victory.

Jaden Cooper stopped both Dryden shooters in the shootout to earn the win.

The Muskies dug themselves a big hole early on as the visiting Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period against starting netminder Darian Klem, with the second goal coming right at the buzzer.

Dryden then scored short-handed early in the second before netting a power play goal to go up 4-0 around the midway point of the second period.

After a Muskie time-out, Carson Noga scored to finally get the black-and-gold on the board.

“I think the key for us was simply after the time-out, we started to play with more purpose and certainly a lot more structure,” head coach Jordan Sinclair said in an e-mailed response to the Times.

“Scoring shortly thereafter to get on the board, and get a bit of momentum, certainly helped,” he added.

Indeed. Nelson notched the first of his three goals in regulation time on the power play to narrow the deficit to 4-2 after 40 minutes.

Nelson then scored back-to-back goals in the third period to even the score.

The Eagles went back on top 5-4—setting the stage for Ward's late-game heroics.

“It was real important for us to not get down on each other but to just stick with it and try and take it once shift at a time and chip away at the lead,” Sinclair noted.

"It was real good to see our guys not give up and keep playing because it shows good character.

“But there was a lot of time left in the game and when we got the third one, you had a pretty good feeling we were going to win it,” he added.

The Muskies hosted the Baudette Bears in exhibition action last night (the score was unavailable at press time), then head to Brandon, Man. for a tournament Dec. 6-9.

They don't resume NorWOSSA play until next Wednesday against the host Kenora Broncos.

Sinclair said the team will be focusing a lot on the details of their game in practice.

“We need to do a much better job with exits out of our end and zone entries,” he stressed.

"It's something we have talked about and it really comes down to making 'guaranteed plays' and keeping it simple, and also understand what is the play when there isn't a play to limit turnovers and give yourself the best opportunity to regain possession of the puck.

“I think we have a long ways to go and a lot of work to do," Sinclair added. ”There's a lot of room for growth here that we would like to see.

“But the attitude of the group thus far has been pretty good and so I'm real confident that we will continue to get better, and that we are capable of getting there.”

Sinclair said the Muskies continue to battle the injury bug but he's hoping to get a few players back sooner then later.

The injured include Declan Webb (broken arm), Jace Jackson (broken thumb), and Austin Armstrong (broken ankle).

Sinclair noted Nick Gurski is just getting back from wrist injury while Sheldon Kelly remains day-to-day with a back injury.

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