Stars lose in OT in Humboldt

The Battlefords North Stars played a very good 60 minutes on the road last night but couldn’t come away with a victory.

The Stars came out of the gates flying in the first period and controlled the game right from the first shift. But it was Humboldt that scored the opening goal. Straight from a face off win by Cody Pongracz the Broncos had the puck at the right point. Rhett Blackmur got a shot through towards the net and it was tipped home by Joey Davies. Other than the goal the Broncos only had 2 other shots on goal in the opening period. The Stars had 13 shots and numerous chances.

Travis Marit poked a rebound just wide. Luke McColgan had a good chance on a 2 on 1 and then got his own rebound to set up Jake McMillen but the Stars rookie fired his shot just wide. Austin Evans is the other forward on that line, which I thought was the Stars most threatening line in the first period, and Evans had a short handed break away but couldn’t beat Matt Hrynkiw. The Broncos have the league’s best special teams and they showed a great PK throughout the game. The Stars were 0-3 on the power play in the first period. Humboldt was 0-2.

In the second the Broncos got a couple of early shots on goal and took a 2-0 lead. Adam Antkowiak set up the second goal with a good rush up the wing. His initial shot was wide and went of the side of the net. Antkowiak good the loose puck and went behind the net before passing out front to John Lawrence. Lawrence made no mistake and it was 2-0. The Stars will be unhappy with how open Lawrence was in the slot.

The North Stars got that goal back almost right away. 34 seconds later Tanner Quinn deflected a point shot to make it 2-1. Brody Luhning and Dillon Forbes picked up the assists. Austin Evans was in the mix in the second period. He drew a couple of penalties when he was hit from behind and he took a penalty as well. Ryne Keller went off slowly in the second period but didn’t miss a shift.

Kendall Fransoo had a good second period as well. He had a pair of good shot blocks in the second period on one shift. And later in the period he crunched Alex Forsberg. Antkowiak came over to get involved and to protect his team mate. Fransoo and Ripley were involved in some pushing and shoving with the big Bronco forward which led to a pair of unsportsmanlike penalties that carried over to the third period.

Before all that though the Stars had tied the game. The Stars power play going 1-10 is part of the reason they were unable to win the game. But the one power play goal they did get tied the game. Kyle Hall took a face off which was poked back to the line by Josh Betinol. Forbes went D to D and Brody Luhning blasted a point shot high glove and past Hrynkiw.

That made it 2-2 heading to the third with the final period starting with some 4 on 4 play. The Bronco fans were up in arms about the reffing tonight and in some ways you can’t blame them. The Stars got 10 power plays and the Broncos got just 4. But other than one or two calls I thought the Bronco penalties were deserved. A boarding call on a hit that sent Ripley into the boards seemed weak. And the elbowing call on Page in the third was a strange one. The Stars may have got away with a couple of penalties as well that would have evened up the penalty count. These things happen in hockey though. Sometimes the calls go against you and you still have to find a way to win the game. Which the Broncos did.

The third period was scoreless.But the Stars had chances to win the game. Including 1:01 of 5 on 3 power play time in the third period. The Stars were unable to score. Shortly after some 4 on 4 play midway through the final period that had some chances for both teams the Stars got a couple of good shot blocks out of McColgan and Evans. All 4 Stars lines were good last night but I really noticed the McColgan line playing solid hockey. They were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.

Ben Greenaway went awkwardly into the side boards as he tried to throw a big hit on Kyle Lipinski. Greenaway left the game in a lot of pain and didn’t return. His status for tomorrow’s game is up in the air at this point.

Casey Parker did a great job for the Stars after the Broncos scored their second goal Parker made 19 straight saves until the game winner. He really shut the door to allow the Stars to get back in the game and then to get the game to overtime. The Broncos eventually won the game in overtime when David Stumborg threw a pass back door that found Adam Antkowiak. He tapped the puck into an empty net as Parker drove across to try and make the desperation save.

So the Stars played a really good road game in a tough building but couldn’t come away with the win. The Stars going 1-10 on the power play was a big reason they didn’t get the extra point.

Next up for the Stars is a game tomorrow at 5 o’clock at the Civic Center. The Stars host Estevan as they make up for the game that was postponed on Friday night.

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