North Stars beat Melfort 3-1

On Saturday night at the  Northern Lights Palace in Melfort the Battlefords North Stars bounced back with a 3-1 win.

The first period saw the North Stars get off to a pretty good start and considering what happened the night before it was nice to see the Stars didn’t have a hangover from the Melville game. But Patrick Johnson was strong in net for the Mustangs and despite 9 shots and an early power play that looked solid the Stars couldn’t score. The Mustangs actually opened the score and it was a lucky break.

Late in the first Brody Luhning took a swipe at the puck along the boards in his own zone. The puck bounced way up in the air and landed right in the slot in front of Connor Creech. Brandon Formosa was all alone and slid the puck home to make it 1-0 Melfort after the first.

And again considering the game the night before it might have been easy for the Stars to let their heads drop. I mean you have a 10 goals against game and then a ridiculous bounce leads to a goal? That could get in a team’s head. But very early in the second period Roger Tagoona turned the tide. Tagoona took a pass from Kyle Schmidt and raced down the wing. He made an inside out move and then turned the corner on the backhand. Powering to the front of the net Tagoona beat Patrick Johnson 5 hole. After the goal Roger was pretty pumped up and so were his team mates on the bench. Kyle Hall stepped up 41 seconds later and made it 2-1. Braeden Johnson and Austin Evans picked up the assists. And that made it 2 goals in 1:01 to start the second period.

The Stars continued to outplay the Mustangs for most of the second period. The shots were 14-9 in the Stars favour. But the last 5 or 6 minutes of the period saw the Mustangs turn up the pressure. They were having a little spell where they were on top and they created a couple of really good scoring chances. It was at that point in the game when Connor Creech stepped up. He made 5 or 6 really good saves late in the second period to ensure his team had a 1 goal lead heading to the third period.

In the third the Stars got another goal from Kyle Hall. This time it was a slap shot from the high slot that somehow got through Johnson and trickled over the line. Cody Bird and Kyle Schmidt were given assists. An unofficial assist should go to Austin Evans who was near the crease causing problems and almost looked like he poked it home. He didn’t but he was in a dirty area helping contribute to the goal. That made it 3-1 and the Stars then shut down the Mustangs the rest of the way.

Melfort was trying to come from behind in the third period. Yet they only managed to get 4 shots through on Connor Creech. The Stars did a great job in their own zone defensively. They also blocked numerous shots.

There were some fights in the third as well. Roger Tagoona was hit up high by Zack Walker and didn’t like the hit. So Tagoona jumped up and asked Walker if he wanted to go. It was a pretty good fight and I thought Tagoona took the win. Later in the period Nathan Zimbaluk took a run at Blake Young looking for a big hit. Dillon Forbes didn’t like how far Zimbaluk came to throw the hit and stepped up to protect his team mate. Young was fine and hardly seemed to notice the hit. Forbes was the only guy to land any punches and he landed 3 or 4 good shots. I don’t think Zimbaluk even managed to throw a punch.

And in the dying stages of the game Austin Evans was in a race for the puck as he wanted to ice the game into an empty net. Instead of going for the puck Carter Berg went for the hit on Evans. It was clearly interference. And because it happened in that dangerous zone about 5 or so feet from the boards it was dangerous. Evans crashed heavily into the boards. I didn’t think the replay showed a dirty hit necessarily. Just a dangerous hit because of where it happened. Coach Hasselberg called it “uncharacteristic” of Berg. I would agree with that. He plays hard and is a hard hitter. but I haven’t seen anything dirty from him in the games I’ve seen. Berg was given a 5 minute major for interference. Evans should be fine.

That was Austin Evans best game as a North Star so far and it was a shame it ended like that. But he was good. His line with Kyle Hall and Braeden Johnson was good all night. Cody Bird continues to impress with his poise and puck skills. And Spencer Gosselin looked to be settling in a bit as the game went on. The whole D was good as you would imagine after a game where just 1 goal and 20 shots were allowed.

The Stars are now off until October 11th.

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