The Battlefords North Stars felt that, despite last night’s win in Weyburn, they had room for improvement. And they certainly played a very solid game tonight in Estevan. The Stars outshot the Bruins 10-7 in the first period and scored the only goal of the frame when Blake Tatchell set up Braeden Johnson on a 2 on 1. Johnson made no mistake for his 13th of the year. The Stars first period tonight was very similar in a lot of ways to the first period in Weyburn. They controlled the play, kept things simple, had good puck support and were physical on the forecheck. Only this time they kept it up in the second period.
The Stars continued to wrack up shots in the second period and Ryne Keller’s sweet back hand pass found Tanner Quinn who made it 2-0 Stars after the second. That line was again excellent all night and they were rewarded with some points. Samborski ended up with two helpers in the game. The shots were 25-14 after two and against the league’s top scoring team limiting the shots the way the Stars did tonight is a great indication of how they played.
The Bruins have one of the league’s top lines, the league’s top offense, and the league’s best power play. But the Stars were controlling play in the offensive zone for the most part and keeping the dangerous Bruins attack hemmed in their own zone. A 2 goal lead is always dangerous though and the Bruins got within one when their power play struck in the third. D man Tyler Kauk beat Connor Creech in the Stars goal on a shot Creech never saw. That made it 2-1. The Bruins took the momentum and started to take the game to the Stars. But Creech held the fort and the Stars got the momentum back when Tatchell threw a great hit on the forecheck that freed the puck up for Johnson. Johnny and Tatchell combined to set up Brett Miller who fired home past the glove of Stephen Glass. The Stars scored an empty netter to pick up the 4-1 win.
A couple of plays really stand out for me as plays that really illustrate what this team is all about. The first was when Ryne Keller had the puck in the neutral zone with the Bruins net empty and the Stars up 3-1. Keller was on his own side of center and had time to try a shot at the empty net. Instead he took the two extra stride to make sure he didn’t ice the puck and then took a big hit to chip the puck into Bruin territory. A great team first play from the young forward and an example of the little things being done throughout the Stars lineup. Those little things add up over the course of the game.
The other moment was when Blake Tatchell had an empty net but chose to set up one of his team mates instead. Tanner Quinn was on hand to score his second of the night. An unselfish play that further illustrates what this Stars team is made of. They really are team first this season and as a hockey fan this is the type of team that I like to watch.
Mike Feeney’s Unsung Hardworking Player of the Game Award:
I can’t give the award to anyone from the Ryne Keller line as all three of them were so good tonight and got so many points together that they weren’t unsung. And that’s a big part of the award. So tonight it goes to Tim Rollins. He had a good game playing against the Neufeld line a lot of the time and he took a number of hard hits in the game. He also blocked a number of shots. So Rollins gets the award tonight. But I could have picked just about anyone from the Stars because it was that good of a team effort tonight.
That’s 4 in a row for the Stars who wrap up this 3 game southern swing tomorrow night in Wilcox against Notre Dame. That game will be live on CJNB/CJNS.