Stars lose third straight 4-3 to Humboldt

The Battlefords North Stars have now lost 3 in a row after the Humboldt Broncos came from behind to win 4-3 at the Civic Center last night.

The North Stars looked to be battling the puck a little in the early going last night with several passes going awry and not finding the tape of the intended target. It was actually kind of a scrappy beginning for both teams but the Broncos settled down first and opened the scoring. Joe Davies found some open ice at the side of the net and got a shot in on Connor Creech who made a good save. Cody Pongracz was on hand to pop home the rebound and the North Stars were behind. In 5 games so far this season the North Stars have allowed the first goal.

But the Broncos lead lasted for less than 10 seconds. Straight from the face off Josh Betinol raced into the Humboldt end and managed to get the puck to Austin Evans out front. He scored to make it 1-1. It was the start of a great night for that line. The North Stars had 2 power play opportunities in the first but failed to capitalize on either.

The North Stars came out a little sluggish to start the second period and seemed to be fighting the puck. Part of the problem was the ice still being wet. Blake Young took a penalty early in the period which the Stars killed. Spencer Gosselin was good on that PK and I thought overall ‘Goose’ had a good game. Maybe his best so far for the North Stars. He was definitely more noticeable last night.

Luke McColgan also had a good game in his return to the lineup. He drew a couple penalties on the night. It was shortly after a really good shift by McColgan that the Broncos scored. Connor Creech made a good save and covered a rebound from Sakatch. Symenuk and Sheeran were off the ice with roughing calls and 4 on 4 play saw the Broncos take the lead. Jon Lawrence had a good game and he scored to make it 2-1. It was a rebound after another good save by Creech and Lawrence put the puck home through the 5 hole on Creech.

The Broncos deserved that lead after how they had played to that point in the period. But the Stars best line on the night offensively got back on track. It was a power play that was actually drawn by the Betinol line. Eventually they scored on the man advantage. Betinol with his 4th goal in the last 3 games and 6th point in his last 3 games. Evans and Luhning with the assists on the PP marker. It was Luhning at the point who dropped the puck off for Betinol who then skated down and scored.

The Stars led heading to the third thanks to Jake McMillen. McMillen found a loose puck off the end wall after a shot by Betinol missed the target. McMillen from a sharp angle roofed the puck to make it 3-2.

The Broncos though were able to score in the early in the third. It was Kam Ballas from the point on a shot that went over the shoulder of Connor Creech. It was almost a perfect shot as Creech went down into the butterfly the puck went up and over the goalie. There was a screen in front and Creech never saw it. Nothing he could do about that shot. The go ahead goal was a power play marker for the Broncos.

Aubertin and Pongracz teamed up and Joe Davies scored on the man advantage. There was one second left in the penalty to Brody Luhning when the Broncos scored. Again it was a rebound goal. Creech made the original save but the loose puck was found by the Broncos. As Creech tried to go across the crease Davies was able to put the puck through the Stars goalie.

So that’s 3 goals scored on rebounds and the only shot that beat Connor Creech clean was a shot that the goalie never saw because of a really good screen. Creech didn’t deserve to be on the losing side of that game. He made by my count 5 or 6 saves when the game was either tied or the Stars were down by a goal that kept his team in the game. A couple of stops on break-aways and a couple cross crease saves as well. Davies was one of the guys robbed by Creech on a 3rd period break-away with the score 4-3 Broncos. That was the strong game I was expecting from Connor Creech.

The Stars had the net empty at the end of the game but weren’t able to find a tying goal. Just like the Flin Flon game the North Stars had a 1 goal loss against a good team. They are still struggling to get a consistent effort throughout the 60 minutes. They are also struggling to get a consistent effort throughout the lineup.

So the Stars are now 3-5 on the season and face Melfort tomorrow night looking to snap their losing streak. In order to snap their losing skid the North Stars will have to start getting hard work from all 18 skaters. When they do I am still very confident this will be a very good hockey team.

——

The North Stars also have a captain. Robbie Newton was given that honour earlier in the week and last night was his first game wearing the ‘C’. After the game Newts said it was an honour to captain this team. He also said he will try and lead by example and he knows he will get a lot of support from the other leaders on the team. That includes, but isn’t limited to, Brody Luhning, Dillon Forbes and Evan Ripley who will all wear an ‘A’.

I predicted Newton would be named captain and I have to say I like the decision. The leadership group of the North Stars were the ones who picked the captain and I think they got it right. Newton should be a great leader for this team. Coach Hasselberg said after the game that he was very happy with Newton being selected by his peers.

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