Stars win in Wilcox

I woke up this morning and realized that I never got around to writing a post game report on the North Stars win over Notre Dame back on Monday night. I should have done it on the bus on the way home but after a win to close out a long road trip it was nice to sit and enjoy a happy bus.

The North Stars played a really solid road game against the Hounds. With all the bus travel heading all the way to Grand Forks and back it would have been easy for the Stars to use excuses for a poor effort at the end of a long weekend. They didn’t do that. Instead they outworked the Hounds for the vast majority of the 60 minutes. They got good goaltending from Connor Creech who is looking more and more sharp as the season progresses. And the Stars capitalized on their scoring chances.

In the first it was Tanner Quinn opening the scoring. And it was an important goal as well. The Stars played a really good opening frame and getting a goal and a lead to take to the locker room after the first was a nice reward. Robbie Newton set that one up when he stole the puck behind the net from Hounds goalie Michael Salmon. Newton then found Quinn out front and the Winnipeg native made no mistake sliding the puck into an empty net.

The Stars had a second goal very early in the second period. Austin Evans picked off a pass in the Hounds zone and was alone on goal. He took about two strides to get to the net and then slid the puck past the goalie. I am not sure but I think it was Kuse who passed it right onto the tape of Evans’ stick. A huge turnover and a big goal. That gave the Stars a 2 goal cushion to work with and with a goalie playing well it put them in the drivers seat. Thanks to some excellent work on the PK and in net it was still 2-0 after 2.

Early in the third Brandon Long scored to make it 3-0 and I felt, secretly, that the game was over at that point. I juts couldn’t see the Stars giving up 3 goals in the third period. Long’s goal was a beauty. Jake McMillen found Long skating down the right side of the slot. Long on his forehand made just a little shoulder fake to make it seem like he was going to go the front of the net on the backhand. As soon as Salmon leaked off his post a little Long kept the puck on his forehand and sniped one up into the roof of the net that may have gone post and in. for McMillen that’s now points in 5 straight games. For Long his 5th goal of the season. And not the first that’s been a highlight reel goal.

The Hounds got some 5 on 3 time in the third and eventually scored not long after hitting the crossbar. Branden Millin scored the goal to break up the shutout bid. Creech ended up with 23 saves for the win and was excellent throughout. Spencer Gosselin wrapped up the scoring when his clearing attempt got up on end and rolled all the way down the ice into an empty net. The puck hung a little left just at the end to snuggle into the net. Brody Luhning picked up an assist on that goal.

So for the Stars a nice way to close out a fun weekend and it snapped a 2 game losing streak. The Stars seem to be on a run where they win a couple then lose a couple. They need to start stringing some wins together and building on the momentum of a good win like the one in Wilcox on Monday.

It should be a good weekend to do that. The Stars host La Ronge on Friday and Yorkton on Sunday. Not easy game but with it being Parents Weekend at the Civic Center these young men will have some extra motivation to do well.

The Stars are also hosting “An Evening with the Stars” on Saturday. Check out http://www.northstars.ca for more on that event.

———

The World Junior A Challenge camp for Team West finished up last night in Calgary. Josh Betinol’s team Blue won the final scrimmage 5-1. Betinol had an assist. We now wait to see who made the team and will head to Yarmouth for the November 5th-11th event. Stars D man Evan Ripley will be doubly interested in who makes the trip. His younger brother, and former teammate in Dawson Creek, 18 year old D-man Luke Ripley had a pair of assists last night.

As soon as I see word on the final roster I will let you know.

EDIT*****

Betinol did not make that final cut for Team West. Two players from the SJHL did. TJ Reeve from Melville and Rhyse Dieno from La Ronge are both on the team.

For a full roster, which includes Luke Ripley, check out Hockey Canada’s website.

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