The Battlefords North Stars lost on the road in Nipawin last night. Final score 1-0 in over time.
The Stars actually played a really good road game at the Cage and were perhaps a little unlucky not to come away with the win. They certainly had enough chances to score. Unfortunately I think it was Kyle Hall who had the best two opportunities. The first was a pass out to the slot that somehow was missed by Hall. It was a beautiful set up by Jordan Ethier after driving wide with speed and Hall probably should have scored. The other great chance for the Stars second line center was in the third when he walked out front on the back hand, spun to the forehand and had most of the net to shoot at. Somehow the puck did not go in the net. It was at the far end of the ice from my broadcast location so I had a hard time seeing it.
The Stars had another great chance, in the second period I believe, when Blake Tatchell made a nice toe drag move to get around a couple of Hawks before firing a shot from the slot. Davis Jones made a good save but the puck was loose in the blue paint. That one was at the end closest to where I was standing and I have no idea how that one stayed out. The puck was just lying there tantalizingly in the blue paint but the Hawks scrambled it away.
The Stars also had a couple of power play opportunities including two in the final period but were unable to convert. Jones and Hildebrand were both solid in net although I don’t think either team made it tough enough on the goalies. In fact the Hawks didn’t really have very many clear cut scoring chances at all.
So there are positives to take from the loss for both teams. The Hawks may not have created a lot of scoring chances but they found a way to win the game. And they evened the series. For the Stars the positives include the fact that they created good chances and they played fantastic defense. They have really denied the Hawks time and space in the attacking zone. The Stars can build on this performance as they prepare for tomorrow night’s game at the Civic Center.
Justin Waskewitch missed the game for the Hawks last night as he was too banged up to play. And we didn’t see Brady Zerr after the first period of play. So the Hawks do have some more injury concerns on top of long term absentees Tad Kozun, Stu Holland and Jesse Williamson. The Hawks have blocked shots very well so far and that is something to watch as they series moves along as well.
Game 3 goes tomorrow night at the Civic Center at 7:30. It will also be live on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15 with the SaskTel pregame show. Also you can listen online at http://www.cjnb.com