Flin Flon downs the North Stars 5-4

The North Stars opened the scoring with another power play goal last night. Justin Waskewitch is enjoying life as a North Star. He scored his second of the season midway through the first. The Stars outshot Flin Flon 23-11 in the first frame but went to the locker room tied at 1 after a late first period 5 on 3 goal from Josh Roach.

The first period was an emotion frame with plenty of hitting and at times some chippy play. It was a great period of hockey. Thoroughly enjoyable as a spectator and lots of talking points. Including a hit by Evan Ripley late in the period which was called a blow to the head and then Ripley fought Dylan McCombie. There were numerous good hits in the period and a couple of borderline hits as well.

Hopefully this is the start of a good rivalry between two very good hockey teams.

The Bombers scored two more in the second. Cole McCaig and Dylan Balaski scoring just 28 seconds apart to make it 3-1 after 2. Those two goals were late in the period and you wondered how the Stars would respond.

The second period wasn’t as good as the first but it would be tough to live up to that first period. Devin Buffalo and Connor Creech were battling it out in net at either ends of the Whitney Forum. Brody Robinson and Dillon Forbes fought in the second frame after a what I thought was a good solid hit by Forbes. And the North Stars D man clearly won that tilt.

The Stars responded very well and came out on fire in the third. The game was tied within 4 minute. A power play goal from Josh Betinol, set up by Waskewitch, and a shorty from Ryne Keller which was neatly set up by Braeden Johnson.  That made it 3-3. The first goal was a shot by Waskewitch off the rush that hit a leg and went wide. The rebound off the end boards right out in front. Josh Betinol was in the right place at the right time. He went to the front of the net and potted his first junior goal as a North Star. He looked relieved to get that out of the way and that goal has been coming.

Keller’s goal was a beautiful play by Johnson. On a short handed dump down the ice Johnson beat the Bombers to the puck and stole it from Buffalo. He found Keller in the slot who settled down the puck and sniped bar down past the glove of Buffalo.

Flin Flon quickly responded and in the blink of an eye it was a two goal game again. The Bombers Brett Boehm and Riley Storzuk scored 2:19 apart to make it 5-3. Boehm scored on the power play when he slowed up and shot back across the body of Connor Creech. The shot was perfectly placed just inside the post. But because of how good Creech has been as a North Star I was surprised the shot beat him. That’s a testament to how well the shot was placed.

Boehm then set up Storzuk who had time to skate in to the face off circle and fire past the blocker of Creech. That’s a shot that no goalie would have stopped. Perfectly placed.

The Stars scored again on the power play late in the third to make it 5-4. Brandon Long tipping home a Brody Luhning shot. Justin Waskewitch with his 6th point in 2 games as a Star.  But that’s as close as they could get. Despite pumping 50 shots on goal and playing very well in a tough building against a good team the Stars fell just short.

I thought it was a great game. Two good teams going toe to toe. The Stars were a little unlucky to lose but overall a great game for the fans. And plenty to build on for both teams. I liked the way the Stars battled back on the road in the third more than once. The power play was 3-7 tonight and is now 7-17 since Waskewitch was inserted in the lineup. But the Stars didn’t score 5 on 5 tonight and that’s something they will hope to address moving forward.

A player from every line had a point as well which was nice to see. The Stars will now head to La Ronge tomorrow for their final game of the weekend.

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