The Battlefords North Stars win streak reached 8 games tonight on the road in Flin Flon. The final score was 5-4 in a shootout.
The Stars strong start to the game led to an early power play. Perhaps it was too early as Kyle Hall’s line came out to start the man advantage but it was their first shift. They hadn’t had a chance to get into the game yet. To get a feel for the puck and to get their legs going. So the powerplay got off to a slow start and the Bombers took some early momentum out of a good penalty kill. Later in the first Hall’s line had a pretty good shift. Tanner Schwab’s shot was well stopped but the rebound came right to Brett Miller. He was unable to find the puck in his feet before the Bombers cleared the front of the net. That was maybe the North Stars best chance of the period that was flying by as there weren’t very many whistles early on and the game had a real nice flow. Flin Flon picked up a couple power plays late and they were able to capitalize when Riley Storzuk scored on a redirect. Tanner Clark had all kinds of time in the high slot to get away the shot and Creech had no chance once it changed direction. That goal came with just 35 seconds left in the first period. 1-0 Bombers after the first 20 minutes of play.
In the second period the Bombers scored first to go up 2-0. The line of Storzuk, Young and Blair struck again. They had a very good game. The Stars really turned things on in the second period after they went down two goals and it wasn’t long before they had turned the game around. Blake Tatchell scored on a wrap around to cut the lead in half and a few shifts later Tatch got a nice stretch pass right up the middle. He was taken down on the break away before he could get a good shot away and the ref signaled a penalty shot. With 4 goals in his last two games already Tatchell was never likely to miss and he made no mistake skating in and snapping blocker side as the goalie may have over played on the possible deke. It was an interesting game in terms of momentum swings because seemingly as soon as the Stars tied the game Flin Flon cranked it up again and started to buzz around in Battelfords territory. All that pressure paid off as the Bombers scored again before the end of the second. Storzuk with his second to make it 3-2 heading to the 3rd frame.
When trailing after 40 minutes the Stars were siting at 2-3-0 on the season. So they have had some experience coming from behind in the third frame. They did it in Nipawin only to lose in a shootout. This time the Stars actually took the lead. First Braeden Johnson scored to tie the game. Johnny was on the goal line to the left of the goaltender and spun on the backhand throwing the puck towards the net. The puck was loose at the side of the net so Johnson just stopped and whacked away until eventually the puck popped home. It was a greasy goal. Not the usual goal from Johnson and his linemates. But a great goal none the less. The type I am sure coaches love to see. It wasn’t skill that tied the game for the Stars it was determination and effort. Or maybe a nice mix of both. Blake Tatchell scored on the power play about a minute later when he skated off the near side half wall and sniped over the shoulder of Desautels. There wasn’t much room near side but Tatchell was able to pick the corner. It completed his second straight hat trick as Tatch scored 3 against Humboldt on Friday night. That goal came with about 6 minutes left. The Stars couldn’t hold the lead this time though as Riley Storzuk completed his hat trick as well. Dylan Balaski made a nice feed cross ice to the point where Tanner Clark wristed it toward Creech’s cage. The shot would have gone wide but Storzuk was free back down and the puck either hit him or he redirected it home. Either way the Bombers top offensive player found a way to get it done late.
So we went to over time where the Stars should have had a power play. The Bombers had 5 skaters on the ice, OT of course is 4on4, and the extra guy who came over the boards played the puck. An obvious call that was missed. So to a shootout we went. It was tied after 3 shooters as well as these two teams couldn’t find a way to settle the game. Sudden death rounds of the shootout are always fun especially when they go to a 7th or 8th shooter. Brody Luhning who was helping me out providing colour tonight and he was begging for Tanner Schwab to be given a chance in the shootout. Eventually the injured D man got his wish. Schwab skated in on the goalie and made a great shot fake. Desoutel bit hard on the fake and with the goalie frozen on his way down Schwab snapped it high up under the bar. Wheldon was the final shooter for the Bombers and he actually deked Connor Creech out of his shoes but missed a wide open cage with a backhander up over the bar. Schwab picks up his 4th game winner of the season as the Stars move to 14-4-0-1 on the season. Their 8 game win streak is the longest in the league so far this season and it could get longer. The Stars play on home ice for another 5 straight games coming up. They don’t hit the road again until November 18th.
– I mentioned at one point that Brett Miller had kind of ran into the Bombers tender. It turns out that wasn’t true. It looked from my angle like a collision but it was the puck that got up and hit the goalie. Miller just happened to be cruising through the area at the time Desautels was falling to the ice after taking the shot up high.
– A big thanks to Brody Luhning for joining me on the broadcast tonight. He did a good job, as it can be hard for a player to know when to talk and what to say. But he had good insights and I thought he did a great job expressing them succinctly, which is the real trick.
– Tatchell know has a 9 game point streak which is second best in the league behind his line mate Braeden Johnson who is on an 11 game streak with at least one point. I am sure Tatchell currently leads the league with his two game hat trick streak though.
– The North Stars have allowed 8 goals in the last 2 games which is 1.5 goals per game more than their season average up until that point. With almost a full week until the next game I expect that the defense will be tightened up for the Humboldt game on Saturday. There were some clips on the game tape from last night’s game that the coaches think will be good teaching tools.
– The North Stars moved up to 12th in the CJHL’s top 20 rankings. They are the only SJHL team in top 20 right now. The Nipawin Hawks have fallen to an honourable mention position.