(I had a post scheduled to load last night on the way home and it didn’t go up. I was having service issues on the way home so I apologize for the lateness of this post and for how quickly I threw it together.)
The Battlefords North Stars lost their second straight road game 2-1 in Melville last night.
The first period was a good one for the North Stars in terms of puck possession and shots directed at the net. But between Blake Voth and the Mills shot blocking the Stars weren’t able to get on the board. In part because of a few late power plays the Mills were able to get back in the game a little and find their footing in the latter part of the first. The shots ended up closer than the run of play perhaps dictated. Both Connor Creech and Voth were very good in the first and the game was scoreless. The Stars had a couple of opportunities in the opening frame on the man advantage including one power play where they spent the entire 2 minutes in the attacking zone. They couldn’t score even though they moved the puck very well. The best chance of the period might have been for the Millionaires if it hadn’t been for a Braeden Johnson defensive play in his own slot that prevented a clean shot on Connor Creech.
In the second period both teams were able to find the back of the net. The Millionaires opened the scoring early in the second when Ian McNulty tried a wrap around and either passed the puck out front or had it roll of his stick, he’s a pretty good player so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say it was a good pass, out front to Jesse Mireau who had a lot of net to hit behind Connor Creech. There was nothing the Stars tender could have done about that goal. Creech then stood tall on a Stars PK shortly after the goal. Allen Kilback looked to have gotten a deflection while lying face down on his stomach in the slot. Creech made the save on that shot and later in the same PK a good glove save on a shot from Tyson Newell. The first half of the period I thought the Mills were the stronger of the good teams.
Later in the period the Kyle Hall line had a good shift and with that momentum the Stars were able to turn the period in their direction. They started moving their feet and drew a couple penalties. They couldn’t score during the 5 on 3 time that they earned. The Stars did score shortly after that though during the 5 on 4 portion of their power play. Off an offensive zone draw Kyle Hall and Tanner Schwab were able to get the puck back to Mitch Berg on the right point. Berg’s cross ice pass to the other point was perfect to tee up Klay Kachur for a one timer. Kachur blasted the puck past Voth to tie it at 1.
The Mills got the lead back very early on in the third. A shot from Bob Pond at the near point went in off Travis Sparrow at the side of the net. It was an unlucky break for the Stars that they were unable to overcome. Despite a solid period where the Stars again got a lot of rubber through on Blake Voth the Mills were able to hold on for the 2-1 win. It’s not the first time this season that the North Stars were able to fire a lot of shots on net but not beat the goalie. Alex Rajotte in La Ronge and Matt Hrynkiw in Humboldt stand out as two games where the Stars felt they could have done more to create better chances. But on the whole it was a good effort from the Stars that wasn’t rewarded in part because of a hot goalie.
So the Stars have lost 2 in a row after tonight’s loss and it doesn’t get an easier as they head to Flin Flon for two 2 games this weekend. Friday and Saturday night at the Whitney Forum the North Stars will look to turn their hard work into rewards.
Mike Feeney’s Unsung Hard Working Player of the Game:
Braeden Johnson. Johnny had 2 or 3 really good back checks in the first period and a couple of strong defensive plays in that period as well