4 in a row for the North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars are officially on a roll after a 4-3 shootout win tonight in Nipawin.

It’s the 4th win in a row for the Stars and the 5th win in the last 6 games for a team that is now above .500 on the season. So far the Stars are 2-0 in what will be the toughest 5 game stretch of their season.
The Stars played very well in the first 10 minutes of the first and were heavily out shooting the Hawks. But Nipawin got some power play time and got back into the game a little. They started to even the shot count without really getting a lot of really good scoring chances. The Stars PK has been an area of concern lately and it’s no surprise that as they start to win games the penalty kill starts to get better and better. They killed over a minute of 5 on 3 power play time for the Hawks. But Nipawin was able to open the scoring when a pass out front went in off Dexter Bricker to make it 1-0. The Stars responded well and 1:02 later they were back on even ground. Austin Evans got the puck through to Kyle Hall who poked it into Hawk territory. Then Hall burst past the defense swooped in behind the net and wrapped the puck around into the net before Davis Jones could get across the net.

Hall has been playing well of late and he was excellent again tonight. Along with Braeden Johnson, Hall and Evans were excellent. Hall and Johnson were the best two players on the ice tonight. They were flat out electric with the puck and dominated for most of the contest.

The Stars found themselves down 2-1 after 2 on a bad break for Brody Luhning. Brady Zerr was down below the red line and tried a pass out front. It went off the stick of the Stars D man and up into the roof of the net. Despite a solid period and a heavy lead on the shot counter the Stars trailed heading to the final frame.

The Stars though came out flying again in the third period and the game was quickly tied. Luke McColgan and Brandon Long freed up the puck in deep and Long got it out front to Blake Young who slid it home. The scoresheet says Luhning scored the goal but it was Young, who wears 15, not Luhning, who wears 5. Whoever scored it the fact is it was a big goal.

Kyle Hall then struck to make it 3-2 Stars. Braeden Johnson set up Hall through the neutral zone and Hall came into the zone with speed. He then fired the puck from the face-off circle past the glove of Jones. It’s not often that Jones is beaten clean on a shot he can see but that just shows how perfect the shot was from Hall.

Wheaton King was able to tie the game later in the period when he came down the wing and scored a similar goal firing the puck past the glove of Creech and into the top corner. Other than that goal it was the Stars with the majority chances in the third as they continued to play well. Josh Betinol had a couple chances but the puck just didn’t seem to want to bounce his way tonight. There was one play in the slot when the puck was right there but Betinol couldn’t find it. Then Long couldn’t get it out of his skates to get a shot away either.

That could have been the story of the game as even in over time the Stars outshot the Hawks 7-1 and I thought for sure Braeden Johnson was going to score the winner. It wasn’t to be and the game went to a shootout.

Connor Creech was beaten on the first shot when Jesse Bernard fanned on his shot but it went through the legs of Creech. He then stopped the next two shooters, King and BalogH, and the Stars were able to win the game. Kyle Hall had Jones beat but the puck rolled off his stick. Luhning snapped a wrister past Jones’ glove and then Jake McMillen scored the winner as he made a beautiful deke to send Jones the wrong way. McMillen sliding the puck into the net to seal a big road win for the Stars.

Hall now has 7 goals and an assist in his last 7 games and the Stars are playing as well as anyone in the league. They get to test themselves again on Tuesday when they host Flin Flon at the Civic Center. Hopefully there will be a big crowd on hand at the Civic Center for that one as it should be a beauty.

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