Flames and Storm win one apiece in battle of Keystone league’s top teams

The top two teams in the Keystone Junior Hockey League faced off in Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) Nov. 30-Dec. 1, splitting the back-to-back series.

The host OCN Storm edged the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) Flames 7-6 in a shootout Saturday night, getting goals from Chasin Thomas and Keith Monias to take the extra point. Henry Muchikekwanape was the only one of three Flames shooters to put a puck past Storm netminder Braxton Constant in the shootout.

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The teams traded seven goals in the last 20 minutes of regulation time, the last two coming in the final two-and-a-half minutes. Chavez Constant got the Storm’s sixth goal to send the contest to overtime with only 59 seconds to play. Albert Berard had given the Flames a 6-5 lead with 2:11 to play. The Flames had been leading 5-3 on third-period goals by Trent North and Jonathan Saunders before Bryson Werbicki-Mallet and Monias scored back-to-back power play goals for OCN to deadlock the score. Werbicki-Mallet’s goal was his third of the game and second of the period, as he had scored early in the frame to knot the score 3-3. His first goal was the only tally of the opening frame. North scored back-to-back goals in the second period and Michael Venne added another to put the Flames up 3-1 before Chavez Constant pulled the Storm within one.

The rematch Sunday afternoon was not nearly as close, with the Flames going up 6-0 in the first period en route to a 12-5 win.

Michael Markus, with a pair, Chase Muswagon, North, Jonathan Saunders and Keistin Saunders had the first period goals for NCN. OCN fought back in the second with a pair of goals from Noah Butler and a single by Werbicki-Mallet to cut the lead in half, but the Flames outscored them 6-2 in the final 20 minutes. Jonathan Saunders scored twice to end up with a hat trick, Keistin Saunders got his second of the game, with Keith Blacksmith, Venne and Muchikekwanape recording singles. Werbicki-Mallet and Monias had the goals for OCN. Shots in the game were 23-23 and Kruz Mitchell made 18 saves to get the win for the Flames.

The Storm are first in the league with 22 points in 14 games, while the Flames have 13 points in eight games. The Flames are on the road against the Norway House North Stars Dec. 7-8 before playing on home ice in Thompson and Nelson House again Dec. 13-14.

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