Adam Brown’s hat trick lead the offensive output while Ethan Messner made 36 saves in net as the Muskoka Anglers defeated the Coldwater Ice Wolves 9-3 in CPJHL action last night.
Muskoka had fallen to the Ice Wolves 6-2 in Coldwater just two weeks ago, and that was fresh in their minds heading in to the game. “We came in last game with kind of a weird mindset,” said Anglers’ captain Brett Machin. “They’re a good team, we came in today a little more set, a little more focused. The first period was tied 1-1, then we came out with some fire in our stomachs and brought it to them.”
On the other side of the ice, the Ice Wolves squandered a chance to pass Muskoka for fourth place and Coach Justin Beers said this was one they let get away. “I thought we played really well in the first period, then we took a couple of bad penalties and it spiraled out of control and we just couldn’t recover in time. We put a good effort in, just had a bad second period and it killed us.”
Coldwater did start the game out fast and opened the scoring less than three minutes in. Rico Opikokew’s shot kicked to the corner where Cam Gee was able to corral it and send it to Colin Carlson in the slot, and Carlson fired it in to the yawning net to make it 1-0 for the Ice Wolves.
With just under six minutes left in the period and the Ice Wolves pressuring and looking to extend their lead, Coldwater’s Erol Durocher received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind, and that would swing the momentum over to the Anglers.
Muskoka was all over the Ice Wolves and finally converted when Brown banged in a goal from in close to tie the game at 1. Coldwater goalie Ty Golden made multiple key stops on the penalty kill and the game entered the first intermission still tied at 1, despite the Anglers outshooting the Ice Wolves 15-8.
Early in the second period, Muskoka’s Brendan Zier took a shot that bounced off the end boards and right to Tyler Schnurr in front, who then flipped the puck up over Golden’s glove to make it 2-1. The Ice Wolves would come close to equalizing, but Muskoka defenseman Sammy Spencer was just able to get his stick on an Owen Mihalik shot to prevent the Coldwater player from putting the puck into the open net.
Minutes later, Muskoka would pick up their second power play goal of the game when a Coldwater bad bounce off the boards lead to a scramble play in front of the net and Keilan Cutting was able to bang the puck home to make it 3-1 Anglers. Brown would add his second of the game on a 2-on-1 breakout off a terrific lead pass from Hunter Varney and only 90 seconds after that, Cameron Murray’s goal off a faceoff extended the lead to 5-1 for Muskoka.
The Anglers would make it 6-1 before the end of the period on a breakaway goal by Brendan Zier and they entered the second intermission with six unanswered goals.
Coldwater switched to Milan Koznar in net for the third period and would not go down without a fight. Ivan Korcak scored his team-leading 24th goal of the season to cut the gap to 6-2; but despite outshooting Muskoka 21-17 in the third, Coldwater would not cut into the deficit any further.
With 14:35 to play, Messner fired a pass from his own net to the far blue line to spring Devon Campbell who beat Koznar with a wrist shot off the far post and in to make the score 7-2. Later in the period, Brown would complete the hat trick and Schnurr would add his second of the game to increase the lead to 9-2 for Muskoka.
Carlson would pick up his second of the game for Coldwater with 8:02 left to make it 9-3, and that was how the game ended.
Messner finished the game with 36 saves on 39 shots, but he refused to take any credit for the win. “It had nothing to do with me, all my defensemen. Sammy [Spencer] saved a ton of goals, I need my whole team. Every single time, it’s all them.” As for what the difference this time as opposed to their last outing against Coldwater, “The boys really picked their heads up this time. They figured out what to do, we’ve played a few times, practices have been getting better and better, everybody’s coming together now.”
Muskoka’s next game is Friday, December 7th when they host the Maniwaki Mustangs. The Anglers are currently five points behind Maniwaki, with one game in hand, in the race for third place.
For Coldwater, they also host the Mustangs next weekend, on Saturday, December 8th. With only three games left until the Christmas break, Coldwater will look to shake this defeat off and bounce back in order to build momentum as they end the first half of the season.