North Stars first win in the books

The Battlefords North Stars improved to 1-3 on the season on Wednesday night with a 4-0 shutout victory over the Yorkton Terriers.

It’s early in the season and the North Stars have a good team so the wins were going to come. But it was nice to get that first one out of the way and to do it in such a tough place was extra exciting. The Terriers are the defending champs. They lost just once at home in regulation all of last season. And the came out strong. They were arguably the better team in the first period. Certainly they out shot the North Stars but couldn’t find a way to beat a sharp Casey Parker.

Early in the second period Kailum Gervais got into it with Spencer Gosselin after a couple of early whistles. Ben Greenaway clearly didn’t like that. So he and Gervais dropped the gloves. They stood toe to toe and chucked bombs in an early candidate for fight of the season. Gervais probably edged the fight although Greenaway was coming on strong at the end. All in all a great fight and great sign of respect from the two players towards each other in the penalty box.

That fight seemed to spark the North Stars and they took over after that. Blake Young scored on the power play after great work down low. Jake Erickson held the line on the PP and got the puck down low. young was twisting and turning battling for the puck and for open ice. Eventually he got some open ice in the face off circle and beat Kale Thomson for his second of the year. There was a bit of confusion as the back referee had his arm up. The goal stood and the Stars went right back to the man advantage. They couldn’t score though and it was 1-0.

Igor Leonenko scored the next North Stars goal. A bouncing puck was kind of in his skates as he powered to the net. Big Igor has great hands and he found a way to bat the puck up over the goalies blocker. Midway through the second the Stars were up 2-0. Jake Erickson picked up an assist on that goal as well as Jake McMillen. Nice to see the Jakes get points. McMillen was a healthy scratch the night before and he responded well back in Yorkton where he played his midget hockey.

The Terriers got back in the game a bit after that. In part because of the Stars penalty issues. Forbes and Heinrich both went to the box late in the period. The North Stars PK has been unreal. By my math the Stars have killed 18 straight penalties. Is that any good or what? They still need to find a way to take less penalties. But the PK being that good is something really nice to be able to fall back on.

Late in the second Robin Carlson scored his first of the year and first as a North Star. That made it 3-0 North Stars after 40 minutes of play. They almost missed a chance to take control of the game. Chase Norrish took a couple penalties, high sticking and then unsportsmanlike conduct but the Stars couldn’t score. Ryne Keller won a late period face off and Robin Carlson took the puck to the net sliding the puck along the ice and into the net.

The Stars closed up shop in the third allowing just 8 shots against a Terriers team trying to mount a come back. Nothing got past Casey Parker though as coach Hasselberg called him “a big pillow” after the game. The rebound control was fantastic all night for Parker. It was a great team effort to blank the Terriers as well. Parker made probably 6 or 8 stick saves on long shots. And each time the puck was deflected by the Stars tender away from danger.

Ryne Keller scored late to round out the 4-0 score and the Stars have their first win of the year.

They will go for their second in a row tonight at the Civic Center. The Stars host Melville. Puck drops at 7:30.

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