North Stars come from behind to beat Mills 4-3

I am not going to talk about the first period too much because really nothing much happened. There was decent flow to the game and the shots I think were around 8 a piece but really there was no stand out moment. Not even really a decent scoring chance to talk about.

The second period however had lots of talking point. The Stars opened the scoring early on in the second period when a point shot was deflected in front. The deflection actually got too much of the puck to cause trouble for Blake Voth on the original shot but where the trouble came from is the deflection knocked the puck right to Woody Klassen at the side of the net and he made no mistake.

The Stars made it 2-0 midway through the period when Tim Rollins used his good speed to create a turnover in the neutral zone. The Mills were trying to exit the zone but Rollins caught the D man from behind and eventually the puck made it’s way to Robbie Newton inside Mills territory. His pass into the middle found Blake Young who slid it home along the ice for his first Stars goal in his first game. He was called up from midgets to help out last night. Tanner Schwab and Boyd Wakelin are still out injured and Dillon Forbes was suspended. Forbes will miss Friday’s game in Weyburn as well. The score actually could have been 3-0 for the Stars because at one point Woody Klassen ripped a one timer that thundered into the crossbar.

The Stars Mitch Berg took a roughing penalty later in the second period that was behind the play and I never saw. Berg didn’t like the call as he skated off the ice. Melville capitalized late in the power play after the Stars had done a decent job on the PK when Ian McNulty took a pass in the slot and beat Graham Hildebrand with a quick shot that I don’t think the goalie saw. Less than 2 minutes later the score was tied again and again it was McNulty.

There was some controversy on the third goal as the Stars bench and fans clearly thought the play was offside at the line. I heard players, coaches and fans yelling that it was 5 feet offside. But I spoke with Coach Hasselberg after the game and he saw the replay and confirmed it was onside and the linemen got it right. The Mills scored on the play to take a 3-2 lead heading to the third after scoring 3 goals in 3:46 late in the second.

At some point early in the third period Braeden Johnson threw a clean hit on Connor Bradshaw and unfortunately Bradshaw’s chin and Johnson’s shoulder collided at one point which seemed to have Bradshaw out on his feet. Coach Fiesel after the game called it “one of those plays in hockey” and went out of his way to mention it wasn’t a dirty hit. Bradshaw left the game and despite returning to the bench Coach Fiesel did not use Bradshaw again. There was another scary moment in pretty early on in the third when Lucas Froese got tangled up with the linesmen and they both fell to the ice. Because of how they were tangled up Froese couldn’t get his hands up in time to break his fall and went face first into the ice. There was a lot of blood and he did appear to be out cold. A stretcher was called for and after a long delay Froese was taken to hospital.

The reports I heard today suggest that both guys are okay. Froese will be out for about a week but it sounds like the nose wasn’t broken as was originally feared and there aren’t any signs of post concussion syndrome. The news on Bradshaw was similarly positive and it sounds like he could even be in the lineup tonight. In both cases that’s very good news.

The Stars took three penalties in the first half of the third period and managed to kill all 3 of them. That really seemed to give them some momentum and 28 seconds after the third kill the score was tied. Woody Klassen jumped up into the play in the offensive zone and Blake Tatchell filled in for him at the point. Klassen eventually set up Tatchell with a drop pass. It was at this point that the Mills made a mistake. 3 different Melville players saw Tatchell with the puck and had a chance to close him down. But they all chose to pick up other guys. Connor Lowe-Wylde had probably the best shot to get to Tatchell but Kyle Hall was alone in the slot and Lowe-Wylde went to Hall. Tatchell seized on the open ice skated down into the faceoff circle and snapped the puck past Voth.

It’s a goal I know the Mille are going to be very unhappy about when they watch it on tape. But it’s also a great learning opportunity for them as well. The Stars had a late power play when McNulty, the games second star, took an interference penalty when he knocked Ryne Keller down in the neutral zone. to be honest I thought it was a bad call. Considering everything the ref had let go up to that point I just didn’t like the consistency he showed making that call late in the period. The Mills PK was unreal though and is part of the reason the game went to OT. Connor Lowe-Wylde went a long way to making up for giving Tatchell all that open ice when he put in one of the best PK shifts I have seen all year.

The Mille were trapped on the ice for pretty much the whole 2 minutes as the Stars buzzed around in the attacking zone. But Lowe-Wylde conservatively I would say he blocked 5 shots. Allen Kilback blocked a couple as well. It really was an inspirational effort. Blocking a Woody Klassen slap shot can’t be fun and to continually get in the way of Klassen and Luhning bombs from the point showed great heart. That helped force OT and in the extra frame the Mills conceded another goal that will leave them angry.

Off the opening face off Blake Tatchell won the draw back to Brody Luhning. Luhning went for a skate in the neautral zone, carried the puck into Mills territory and right into the slot. The Mills D kept backing off and backing off until they were in too deep and Luhning snapped it past Voth on the same side that Tatchell beat him. Again a soft goal for Melville to concede at that point and a goal they will feel they shouldn’t have allowed.

None the less the Stars pick up the 4-3 OT win in a wild seesaw game at the Civic Center.

How about Woody Klassen by the way? 1 goal and 2 assists and now has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last 3 games. If he plays like that in the post season and gets this hot or stays this hot over a long stretch the Stars would be incredibly tough to beat. Now it’s probably asking for too much for Klassen to put up that many points a game but just to be that much of a threat as he has been the last few games really makes the Stars dangerous.

Mike Feeney’s Unsung Hard Working Player of the Game:
Roger Tagoona. I thought he had a very strong game despite not getting on the scoresheet. He was engaged physically, controlled the puck well at times and at some point in the third period he had an epic back check to break up a potential two on one that was developing for the Mills.

Next up for the North Stars 3 games in 3 nights down South. Weyburn on Friday night is the first of those games and I will have it live for you on CJNB/CJNS and online at starting with the SaskTel pregame show at 7:15.

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