North Stars win home opener

The Stars beat the Kindersley Klippers 4-1 last night at the Civic Center.

It was a much better effort from the Stars and a much better start to the game. Braeden Johnson, Josh Betinol and Brandon Long started the game up front for the Stars and just 53 seconds into the game they drew a penalty. Colton Schick went off for a hook and the Stars went to their first of many power play.

Sometimes an early power play is tough for players who haven’t been on the ice yet and haven’t gotten a chance to get their feet moving. But the North Stars managed to score on the man advantage and it was a player who had already seen the ice. Brody Luhning started the game with Kyle Schmidt and they returned to the ice midway through the power play. Luhning took a pass from Schmidt and went down the right wing. From a sharp angle to the left of Warren Shmko it was a pass out front intended for Josh Betinol that went off the goalie and in. Luhning with his first of the year. Schmidt drew the lone assist.

The Klippers took 5 penalties in the first period, 1 was almost entirely negated by a Stars penalty, but the power play didn’t connect again until the third period. But the Stars did get another goal from Brody Luhning before the first period ended. Kyle Hall was on the ice and missed the net with a shot. Blake Young and Carter Danczak worked it back to the point and Luhning fired it home. He said he saw room high blocker and found it. Young has now played 3 regular season games as a NOrth Stars. 1 last year and 2 so far this year. He has 3 points. Danczak has played 2 regular season games and has 2 assists.

The Klippers didn’t get many shot through on Connor Creech in the game but he made a couple of good saves in the first frame. But all in all it was better from the Stars. A little bit stronger on the puck. A little bot more physical. And a step in the right direction.

The second and third periods were similar to the first. The Stars were outworking the Klippers and the shot blocking in particular was noticeable for the Stars. During the broadcast I mentioned every single D man at least once for having a shot block. And the forwards were involved as well. McColgan, Keller and Newton all had big shot blocks in the game that I can still remember. The Stars PK was the star of the second period though. Tanner Quinn, Brandon Long and Brody Luhning, twice, spent time in the box but the Klippers could hardly get set up and when they did very little rubber was getting through on Connor Creech.

Early in the third with the Stars back on the power play Brandon Long scored his first as a Star. Tanner Quinn drew the penalty when he was hauled down almost in a horse collar like fashion. That line of Keller, Quinn and Newton will draw penalties all season long. They were good tonight once they were put together. Long scored when he faked a slap shot as he crossed the blueline and from the high slot slung a wrist shot over the blocker of Shymko and into the top corner. An absolute beauty from Long to make it 3-0.Brody Luhning and Braeden Johnson drew the assists. For Luhning it was his 3rd point of the night.

For Johnson his first point of the season. And all season long CJV the Carpet People are donating $10 for every point Johnny scores to the Boys and Girls Club of the Battlefords. That’s something Johnson set up that I will mention at times throughout the season. It’s a cool way to raise money for a good cause.

The Klippers broke the shutout bid of Connor Creech less than 2 minutes later to get back within 2. A shot from the point was blocked in front by the North Stars but the loose puck went right to Giovanni Bombini who beat Creech. That was a power play marker for the Klippers as Evan Ripley was off for interference on a call that was a little suspect.

Creech so far has a 1.50GAA and a .942 save%. He’s off to a terrific start.

The Stars got the three goal lead back late in the period when Roger Tagoona got the puck off an offensive zone faceoff and tried a wrap around. Shymko kept it out by Kyle Hall poked it home. They gave the goal to Tagoona in the rink but I spoke with Hall after the game and he said he got it. Then I talked to Roger and he said he had it changed to Hall. So I think the game sheet has it as a Hall goal which is correct. In fact as I look at it now I see that Luhning has an assist on the 4th goal as well as Roger Tagoona. It was Forbes as the only assist when the goal was announced so I didn’t realize until just now that Luhning ended up with a 4 point night. Not a bad start to the season for Luhning.

At the end of the night I think the Stars will be pretty happy with how they played. I think there is still lots of room to get better and to improve but it’s early in the process and they are still a young team.

Next up for the Stars is Melville. They are in town Friday night at the Civic Center. That should be a good game and one I know Roger Tagoona is always looking forward to playing.

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